Democratic Rep. Taylor says he voted for McCain, not Obama

Conservative Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.) said over the weekend that voted against his own party when he went to the ballot box to vote for president in 2008.

Taylor told the Sun Herald of South Mississippi that he chose Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president over then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)

Reporter Maria Recio told The Hill that when Taylor was asked if he voted for the Democratic nominee in 2008, he said, "I did not vote for Obama. I voted for Sen. McCain. Better the devil you know."

Like other conservative Democrats, the 11-term congressman has spoken out against party leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) during his reelection campaign and has argued the leadership has been too liberal. 

The congressman's comments illustrate the extent to which he and other conservative and Blue Dog Democrats have gone to show they are independent of their party's leaders. 

McCain won Mississippi 56-44 percent in 2008, and he enjoyed strong support in Taylor's conservative district.

Taylor's race against Republican state Rep. Steven Palazzo has narrowed in recent weeks. Palazzo has tried to tie Taylor to Pelosi by arguing he has voted with her 82 percent of the time. Taylor voted for Pelosi in 2007 and 2009, but he did vote against the California Democrat for party leader in the past.

Once thought to be a relatively safe district for Democrats, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report now rates the race between Taylor and Palazzo a toss-up.  

Taylor has already said he will not support Pelosi for speaker again and said he would back Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton (D). Skelton's office has said he is not seeking the speaker's gavel.

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