Elections 2020Elections 2022FederalGunsImmigration & BorderIssuesVan Taylor Faces First Republican Primary Since Vote in Favor of January 6 Commission

Taylor voted in favor of a commission to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol, but he did not vote for the U.S. House’s select committee.
February 21, 2022
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In his redrawn North Texas congressional district, Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX-03) is on the ballot for the first time since taking a controversial vote to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 of last year.

On primary day, Republican voters in portions of Collin and Hunt counties will have the opportunity to renominate Taylor or one of four other candidates: Suzanne Harp, Jeremy Ivanovskis, Keith Self, or Rickey Williams.

The congressional district has a rating of R-61% in The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index, indicating a strong likelihood of a Republican victory in November. The district had been R-55% before the Texas legislature redrew the maps.

The Democrats on the primary ballot are Doc Shelby, a former vice chairman of the Hunt County Democratic Party, and Sandeep Srivastava, an information technology professional who is now a realtor.

Early voting is underway and lasts until February 25. Primary day is March 1.

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Van Taylor

Taylor voted for a bill in the U.S. House, H.R. 3233, to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. He was among 35 Republicans to vote in favor of the measure, which was ushered in by Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24). The only other Texas Republican who voted in favor of the bill was Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23).

However, the commission that Taylor voted for never materialized. The bill failed in the U.S. Senate after being opposed by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The U.S. House ultimately formed a select committee, but Taylor did not vote in favor of forming the committee, a majority of which is composed of Democrats.

“I voted against Nancy Pelosi’s January 6th Select Committee — the witch hunt currently harassing Republicans — every time it came up for a vote,” Taylor told The Texan in a statement on Friday.

“I voted for an independent commission that died in the Senate and was never formed. This commission would have been structured with equal Republicans and Democrats so that Republicans could block Nancy Pelosi from politicizing the commission in the same way she is doing now and force Pelosi to answer why she denied a Sergeant of Arms request to secure the Capitol.”

Only two Republicans — Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16) — voted for that proposal and are now the panel’s sole Republican members.

Elected to Congress in 2018, Taylor is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which is composed of 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans. The caucus endorsed H.R. 3233 prior to its passage in the U.S. House.

Previously, Taylor served two terms in the Texas House and one term in the Texas Senate.

Taylor was also one of only six Republican U.S. representatives from Texas who voted to overrule an objection to the certification of Arizona’s votes in the Electoral College. He also voted to overrule the objection to Pennsylvania’s votes.

The Texan also asked Taylor about his stances on border security and Second Amendment issues.

“As a young Marine, my unit was sent to the United States-Mexico Border as part of Joint Task Force Six. In my time there, and later in the Texas Legislature, I saw firsthand the implications of illegal immigration,” Taylor said.

The congressman said President Biden has “completely shredded” the border security measures of President Trump and “broadcasted” perverse incentives to come to the U.S. unlawfully.

“We must end Biden’s mockery of our national sovereignty and reinstate the Trump policies that were working and turn off the magnets that attract illegal immigration,” Taylor said.

The congressman emphasized his support for gun rights.

“I am proud to have earned top ratings from trusted pro-gun organizations and the endorsement of the NRA. In Congress, I’ve cosponsored legislation to grant conceal carry reciprocity so legal gun owners don’t need to re-register their guns in other states they travel through,” Taylor told The Texan.

“I’ve also cosponsored a bill which would prevent any President from declaring an emergency in order to impose gun control and fought back every time against the radical left’s gun grabs.”

Taylor’s campaign reported $94,541 in receipts during the most recent fundraising period.

Suzanne Harp

Harp’s campaign website characterizes her as a “Washington outsider.” Her campaign states that she is “vice president with a leading Mergers and Acquisition Investment Bank” and homeschooled her four children with her husband.

On the subject of border security, she supports finishing the border wall and “improving border security enhancements.”

“The rapid and avoidable deterioration of the Texas border has been as senseless as it has been foreseeable, and Suzanne will fight to reduce the flow of illegal entrants and reprioritize the value of citizenship,” the candidate’s website reads.

She is also an “avid gun owner” and believes “for all law-abiding citizens, the government should not restrict the purchase and possession of firearms.”

Harp reported $13,360 in receipts in the most recent campaign fundraising period. Her campaign did not respond to an interview request from The Texan by the time of publication.

Jeremy Ivanovskis

Ivanovskis is a flight attendant and has experience in law enforcement.

“After the 9/11 attacks, I reactivated my peace officer license and served as a non-paid volunteer reserve Deputy Constable for over a decade, growing my law enforcement background while serving concurrently in aviation, all with the strongly-held belief that hard work is the building block of true character,” his campaign website reads.

In an interview with The Texan, Ivanovskis criticized Taylor for his votes to certify the Electoral College results and create the January 6 Commission.

“Van is bipartisan. He might as well be a Democrat,” Ivanovskis said.

He added, “He’s not the conservative that everybody thinks he is. He’s on the Problem Solvers Caucus. Why isn’t he on the House Freedom Caucus or the Second Amendment caucus? Those are true patriots.”

“[Van Taylor] should have been hard pressing Nancy Pelosi to release thousands upon thousands of hours of footage, body cam footage,” Ivanovskis said. “Van Taylor could have pressed Nancy Pelosi why she turned down 10,000 National Guard troops.”

On the subject of the right to keep and bear arms, Ivanovskis advocated the repeal of the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968.

“Our firearms and our Second Amendment is what keeps us from falling to government tyrannical overreach,” Ivanovskis said.

He said about his law enforcement career, “I swore an oath to the Constitution, to preserve, protect and defend the United States Constitution.”

Ivanovskis reported $2,135 in receipts in the most recent campaign filing.

Keith Self

Former Lt. Col. Keith Self is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the U.S. Army for 25 years. He served three terms as Collin County Judge, serving from 2007 through 2018.

In an interview with The Texan, Self indicated that Taylor’s vote in favor of the January 6 commission is out of step with the voters.

“The January 6 vote is a red line for many conservative Republican voters in Congressional District 3,” Self said.

Referencing Taylor’s membership in the Problem Solvers’ caucus, Self said, “When you talk about [bipartisanship], it always means the Republicans cave to the liberals,” Self said.

The former lieutenant colonel also discussed his time in the military and as county judge.

“Although we like to talk about our time in combat and combat zones, it’s my work at the operational and strategic levels of the military that will really contribute to my work in Congress,” Self said.

He also highlighted his “proven record” as county judge “of cutting taxes and protecting the taxpayers from larger government.”

Self reported $40,639 in receipts in the most recent campaign filing.

Dr. Rickey Williams

Williams received a doctorate degree in education from the University of Texas at Austin and has an extensive background as an educator.

In an interview with The Texan, Williams suggested that there is a “double standard” being applied to those who participated in the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol versus those who rioted across the country during the summer of 2020.

“I know that some people got out of hand, I understand that,” Williams said, adding that the people who assaulted police officers and damaged the Capitol building ought to be prosecuted.

“But they’ve gone way beyond this, they’ve turned this into another Trump-bashing affair with their subpoena power, pulling in people from the Trump campaign and looking at text messages. This is just the typical Democrat playbook to continue attacking Donald Trump and conservative patriots.”

The candidate also discussed the right to self-defense and gun rights.

“The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, is not about target practice and hunting, it’s about self-defense,” Williams said. “It’s also about self-defense from a tyrannical government.”

Williams emphasized his belief in local control of education and characterized critical race theory as “Marxist.”

“You hear those words when what you really should be hearing is affirmative action, reverse discrimination, and quotas, because that’s really what it is — hiring people based on race, not based on qualifications,” Williams said.

“So any type of school district or if a company or any government agency has these diversity programs, what they’re really saying is, let’s hire people based on the color of their skin.”

Williams reported $2,900 in receipts in the most recent campaign finance report.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.