A Virginia Republican said that he believes being “intellectually consistent” on the Election Day Democratic sweep in his state points to a referendum on the first year of President Trump.
Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie in a contentious governor’s race. Democrats won the lieutenant governor and attorney general races, as well. Republicans also lost at least 19 seats in the 100-seat Virginia House of Delegates, with a few races still too close to call.
“In 2009, when Governor Bob McDonnell won Virginia resoundingly, it was a referendum on President Obama and if the results last night were the opposite, we would have said that as well,” Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) told CNN this morning. “So I think you have to say, you have to attribute some of these things, given the exit polls, given the Democrat turnout… you have to give credit where credit is due.”
Taylor, a former Navy SEAL sniper who filled the 2nd District seat after moderate Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) retired, represents a largely military area including Virginia Beach and parts of Norfolk and Hampton.
“Democrats showed up last night. There’s no question about it. So I think when you look at those factors, you can certainly attribute some things to perhaps the candidate; Gillespie as well, too, but there was an overwhelming thing that was looming large,” he said. “And that was — I think that was the divisive rhetoric”
“I support the president, not blindly. If I agree with him, I say it; if I don’t, I don’t. And I think that last night was a referendum. I don’t think there’s any way that you can look at it in a different way, to be honest with you, and be intellectually consistent.”
Trump, after urging support for Gillespie the morning of the election, tweeted after the results were in that the GOP candidate “worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for.”
Taylor said he “profoundly” disagreed with the argument that Gillespie should have been more Trumpian.
“I believe that leadership is bringing people together. I believe in the politics of addition and not subtraction. I think that I would just encourage my peers to do the same thing that dividing people — and, listen, let’s not — let’s be realistic here: Democrats are guilty of this as well, too,” the congressman said. “We saw that in Virginia as well. When folks were being very divisive, racially charged and stuff like that, I don’t think that’s helpful for anyone. I don’t think that’s helpful for the country and I don’t care what side of the aisle you are on, if you’re doing that, I think that that’s failing in leading.”
Taylor added that many local issues “weren’t in play last night” as they “were absolutely overshadowed by the national scene.”