A special prosecutor in Virginia is investigating whether staff for a GOP congressman turned in forged signatures to get a Democrat-turned-Independent on the ballot this fall.
The investigation by the special prosecutor, Roanoke Commonwealth Attorney Donald Caldwell, will examine petitions collected by campaign staff for Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) to get a Democrat-turned-independent candidate, Shaun Brown, on the ballot. Brown’s presence on the ballot could benefit Taylor by taking away votes from Elaine Luria, his Democratic opponent this fall.
Among the signatures turned in for Brown was one allegedly from R. Stuart Cake, a civic activist who died in April, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The signature was dated June 9.
Eileen Eady’s name also showed up among the signatures. But she moved from Virginia to Nevada and has been voting in Nevada since 2014, she told the Times-Dispatch. Tony Flores, a Virginia Beach resident, told the Daily Press that his name, along with those of three of his friends, did not sign a petition for Brown, even though their names appeared on one.
Representatives of Brown and Luria did not immediately return a request for comment. Taylor told NBC affiliate WAVY Tuesday he fired his campaign manager before he learned of the petition issue and denied any wrongdoing to the Times-Dispatch.
“You have no idea when you’re collecting signatures who’s signing,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “So who knows?”
Taylor said Tuesday that he has also parted ways with his campaign consultant, according to a Times-Dispatch reporter.
Luria tweeted Tuesday that the incident should be investigated.
“Democrats and Republicans agree that the integrity of our election process is paramount. VA-02 voters deserve to know if Congressman Taylor’s paid staff violated the law and if all candidates received the required number of signatures to make the ballot this November,” Jake Rubenstein, a spokesman for the Democratic party of Virginia, said in a statement.
Taylor was first elected to Congress in 2016 and represents a district in southeastern Virginia that includes Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.