Independent Candidate Challenges Taylor to Wrestling Match

Virginia businessman said match would give voters ‘insight’

Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., has been challenged to a wrestling match by a prospective independent candidate vying for his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Virginia man vying to represent Virginia’s 2nd District in Congress challenged incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Taylor to a wrestling match.

Aldo DiBelardino, a businessman who filed to run for the seat as an independent, said a physical tussle in addition to a debate would give voters “better insight” into the candidates than a mere debate would provide.

“I acknowledge that this is odd but I think it’s odd in a way that will serve voters,” DiBelardino told the Virginian-Pilot. “Part of politics, on different levels, is about entertainment and showmanship. A wrestling debate is an opportunity to not just entertain voters but also pull them into debate dialogue.”

DiBelardino has not yet been approved to appear on the ballot in November. He is the owner of X-IT products, a fire escape ladder manufacturer.

Taylor, a former Navy SEAL with some wrestling experience of his own, did not immediately accept DiBelardino’s unorthodox proposal. Scott Weldon, a spokesman for Taylor, told the Virginian-Pilot that Taylor was “currently wrestling in Washington in an Appropriations Committee markup to support our troops.”

While DiBelardino did not initially extend his challenge to the Democratic challenger for the seat, retired U.S. Navy commander Elaine Luria, he said he would be happy to take her on if she is interested.

"If Elaine says she wants to wear a singlet and wear proper gear and get out there on the mat, I’m not going to be the man to stop her. More power to her,” DiBelardino said, according to the newspaper.

Luria and Taylor won their respective primaries on Tuesday, and Taylor is strongly favored to keep his seat in November. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzalez rates the race Likely Republican.

As for the likely winner in a wrestling bout, so far all bets are off.

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