VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - R. Stuart Cake was a longtime Hampton Roads resident, known for volunteering for many organizations until he passed away in April.
That's why it was a surprise for family and friends to discover his name among those on a petition to get Shaun Brown on the ballot this fall.
"I was shocked that someone would stoop to using names of people who are no longer with us," said Bet Cake, his widow.
Cake's name, signature, and address appear on the petition collected by a campaign staffer for Congressman Scott Taylor. The signature is dated June 9, 2018, about two months after he died, according to a copy of the petition received by WHRO through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
"If Stuart were here, he would be very angry that someone used his name fraudulently," Cake said.
Last week, WHRO first reported Taylor's campaign staff collected signatures to help Brown get on the ballot as an Independent candidate. Taylor told News 3 "people were upset" with the primary process and wanted to help Brown. Faced with further questioning a campaign spokesman said political calculations were also a factor in the assistance.
Taylor, Brown and Democrat Elaine Luria are all running to represent the second congressional district, which includes Virginia Beach, the Eastern Shore, parts of Norfolk, and parts of the Peninsula. Having both Brown, who originally ran as a Democrat, and Luria on the ballot could split the Democratic vote, especially if the race is close.
In an interview on Monday, Taylor denied his staff forged any signatures. "Of course she didn't forge it," Taylor said. "You can look at the handwriting. It's all different."
Taylor says this is all a Democratic effort to make him look bad and says his team has done nothing wrong. "I don't know who signed the thing," he said. "It's up to the state board of elections to say this is bad or this is good in terms of signatures."
Shaun Brown says she didn't know about Taylor's team's efforts.