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Virginia Supreme Court keeps third candidate out of Virginia congressional race

Griffin Connolly, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Virginia's 2nd District ballot will feature just two names this November: Scott Taylor and Elaine Luria. The state elections board is printing them Thursday, and that's final.

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to dismiss independent candidate Shaun Brown's appeal that her name remain on the ballot, putting a nail in the coffin of a bizarre scandal in which four staffers for Taylor, the Republican incumbent, allegedly forged dozens of signatures on ballot petition sheets for Brown to include her in the election.

A circuit court judge last week tossed out every ballot petition sheet Brown submitted to the elections board after finding she listed an incorrect address for herself on each document.

The judge also ruled every petition sheet submitted by the Taylor staffers on Brown's behalf be thrown out after he found them "rife with errors, inconsistencies, and forgeries."

Candidates for Congress in Virginia must collect at least 1,000 signatures from residents of the district to appear on the ballot in a general election.

In all, the judge scrapped roughly 2,500 signatures last week, putting Brown below the eligibility threshold.

The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that it did not have the jurisdiction to consider Brown's appeal of the lower court's decision.

The Democratic Party of Virginia, which filed the original lawsuit in August to kick Brown off the ballot over her errant petition sheets, has accused Taylor of helping Brown, his 2016 Democratic opponent, in a backdoor maneuver to split the Democratic vote between Brown and the party's nominee this year, Elaine Luria.

Taylor denied those claims, saying he was just trying to help a candidate whom the DPVA had "disenfranchised."

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A spokesman for Taylor did not respond to a request for comment on the court's ruling.

But a spokesman for Virginia Democrats said the system worked.

"Scott Taylor's fraud did not work," DPVA communications director Jake Rubenstein said in a statement. "Scott Taylor and his team's forgeries and lies were defeated by the rule of law and the integrity of our election system. Today's ruling by the Supreme Court is a great win for Virginia voters."

A special prosecutor is investigating the alleged forgeries by Taylor's campaign staffers.

Nathan L. Gonzales of Roll Call rates the race "Lean Republican."

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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