House races

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

The revelation by Taylor, an 11-term incumbent facing a tough reelection battle, is one of the most extreme examples yet of a Democrat distancing himself from his party’s unpopular leaders.

Taylor, who has been taking step after to step to highlight his independence from Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told a reporter for The Sun Herald of South Mississippi about his secret ballot two years ago.

{mosads}“I did not vote for Obama. I voted for Sen. McCain,” Taylor told reporter Maria Recio, she said in an interview with The Hill. “Better the devil you know.” Taylor was one of the few Democrats on Capitol Hill who declined to endorse Obama in 2008.

Taylor’s Republican opponent has tied Taylor to Obama and Pelosi in an effort to take advantage of the political tailwinds favoring the GOP.

Mississippi state Rep. Steven Palazzo (R) has frequently said that Taylor votes with Pelosi 82 percent of the time, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has run ads against Taylor pegging him as a Pelosi Democrat.

Tayor voted against healthcare reform and a climate change bill championed by Pelosi, and has distanced himself from party leaders for months in an effort to illustrate his independence.

The Mississippi congressman was the first House Democrat to support a GOP-sponsored discharge petition to repeal the healthcare reform law. He has also said that he will not support Pelosi for Speaker again should he be reelected and the Democrats hold on to their majority. Taylor said he’d throw his support behind Blue Dog Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.).

But those votes have not insulated him from Palazzo’s attacks that he is a foot soldier for Democratic leaders.

The conservative nature of Taylor’s district suggests Taylor needs to distance himself from Obama and Pelosi.

McCain won Mississippi with 56 percent of the vote in 2008, and he enjoyed strong support in Taylor’s conservative district.

Still, Taylor easily won reelection in 2008, 2006 and 2004, winning with no less than 64 percent of the vote. He carried 80 percent of the vote as recently as 2006.

Taylor is one of a number of Democrats to take drastic steps to showcase their independence given the president’s poor approval numbers.

In West Virginia, Gov. Joe Manchin, the Democratic candidate for the Senate, has gone so far as to televise an advertisement in which he shoots a copy of the cap-and-trade bill approved by the House and supported by Obama.

In an interview with Politics Daily last weekend, Manchin would not say if he would endorse Obama for reelection in two years.

“That’s such a hypothetical thing, but basically I think there’s two more years that have to play out,” Manchin said. “Things have got to change. People will have time to evaluate and make a decision over the next two years and four years. I just think there’s a lot of correction, a lot of changes, a lot of things that need to be fixed before I would say anything about anybody running for office.”

Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas), whom Obama considered as a vice presidential candidate in 2008, is now running an ad touting his independence. The ad says Edwards stood up to pressure from Obama and Pelosi and voted against the healthcare bill and climate change legislation.

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), like Edwards and Taylor a conservative Democrat from the South, has said he’ll refuse to support Pelosi as Speaker.

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