Democrat Elaine Luria managed to snatch victory from Republican incumbent Scott Taylor in the 2nd Congressional District Tuesday.
With 177 of 180 precincts reporting, Luria, a Norfolk businesswoman and former Navy commander, earned 129,415 votes (51 percent) to Taylor’s 125,172 votes (49 percent), according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.
"I have always been honest about what kind of leader I will be — an independent voice who will put country over party and lead in a bipartisan way. While I will always look for common ground, while I will always be willing to listen, I will never compromise when it comes the Coastal Virginia values of decency, community, and service to country that we all hold dear," Luria said in a statement in which she declared victory.
Luria took 4,382 votes (71 percent of the vote) in Williamsburg and 3,825 votes (53 percent of the vote) in James City. Taylor earned 1,770 votes (29 percent) in the city and 3,405 votes (47 percent) in James City. In York, Luria earned 12,947 votes (45 percent of the vote), while Taylor picked up 16,053 votes (55 percent) according to unofficial election results.
Taylor ran on a platform of continued pursuit of goals he laid out for his first term, namely expanding the military, strengthening the district’s economy and taking care of veterans. Luria, who has not served in public office before, ran on a platform that included affordable health care and environmentalism.
Taylor and Luria both cast themselves as moderates, and had some commonality regarding veterans’ welfare and sea level rise. They clashed on health care. Luria ran on preservation of the Affordable Care Act while Taylor favored its repeal.
Luria’s victory realized Democrats’ hopes to flip the eastern Virginia district as part of a blue wave to retake the House. The race was one of the most closely watched in the country and considered a toss-up by the non-partisan Cook Political Report.
The race also attracted notice when it was discovered several paid Taylor staffers collected signatures to put Independent candidate Shaun Brown on the ballot in a move seen by observers as an attempt to split the district’s liberal vote.
Some of those signatures belong to dead people or people who said they didn’t sign. A judge removed Brown from the ballot after determining the petitions were fraudulent.
Taylor defeated Brown handily when she ran against him as a Democrat in 2016.
“My door will be open, my phones will be on. And my job now is to work hard for all of my constituents, regardless of who they voted for on Election Day,” Luria said.
This story has been updated.
Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.