Politics

Scott Taylor Gets New Challenger

Dave Belote is retired Air Force officer, head of the Virginia Beach Democratic Party

Dave Belote, who is challenging Virginia Republican Rep. Scott Taylor in 2018, retired from the Air Force after a 24-year career. (CrowdPAC.com)

Virginia Rep. Scott Taylor received a Democratic challenger as the chairman of the Virginia Beach Democratic Party announced his candidacy.

 

Dave Belote is a retired Air Force officer and the first Democrat to announce in the race, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported.

 

Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, first won the seat in 2016 with 61 percent of the vote, replacing former Rep. Scott Rigell

 

But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting Taylor's district, listing it as one of its first round of potential seats to pick up in the midterm elections.

 

Belote criticized Taylor's support for congressional Republicans’ efforts to replace the 2010 health care law.

 

“Why in the world would we gut protections for people who need it,” Belote told the Pilot.

 

Belote unsuccessfully ran for state Senate in 2015. He is a native of Norfolk who was raised in Virginia Beach.

 

The district has a high concentration of military bases such as Naval Station Norfolk, Joint Expeditionary Base-Little Creek, and Naval Air Station Oceana.

 

Shipbuilding is a large part of the district's economy and Belote said he would support the district’s economy, but he also told the newspaper he wanted more information about the Navy's plan to increase its fleet to 355 ships.

 

“I want to see the strategic analysis that shows that,” he said. “I support whatever we have to do promote the projection of American power.”

 

Belote served 24 years in the Air Force before retiring at the rank of colonel. He directed air operations in Iraq during the battle for Fallujah and later was commander of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, according to his biography.

 

After retiring, Belote created and led the Defense Department’s renewable energy siting office, and was vice president of a Virginia-based wind and solar energy developer.

 

He had a six-show run and won $134,801 on “Jeopardy!” in 2009 while serving as Nellis commander. 

 

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