Taylor Thornley Keeney, a Richmond area PR executive and former appointee of  Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s administration, announced her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in July. The Goochland County resident sat down with The Virginia Star to discuss key federal issues and her campaign for Congress.  Keeney is seeking the Republican nomination to take on Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) in the 2022 election cycle.

Keeney is a 34-year-old native of Southern California who graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU). She began her political career as a press assistant to John McCain’s wife Cindy McCain. The former SMU Peruna then served as press secretary to Bob McDonnell’s successful bid for governor 2009 and then also served in his administration. The press secretary then moved to Bill Bolling’s campaign for governor in 2013.

After working with John Adams’ campaign for attorney general in 2017, Keeney launched Little Hands Virginia, an organization to help young children in vulnerable situations have the essential items needed for their development. She is currently employed as a PR executive at Hunton Andrews and Kurth in the Richmond office.

In an interview with The Virginia Star, Keeney said she was running because she is “the type of person when I see a problem, it’s really hard for me to sit by and watch this happen.” She frames the statement on the phrase “problem solver” often, referring to her non-profit and her day job as a PR executive, to talk about what she wants to accomplish in Congress.

She adds, “What is going on in Washington D.C. right now is a huge problem. The Democrats in D.C. are taking us down the wrong path. We need Washington to start working for the 7th District.”

Keeney told The Star she felt that the administration and the leaders in Washington had “no plan to fix the issue.”

She added:

You have this ping-ponging of going back and forth with no consistency. We have had a bi-partisan failure on our immigration plan for far too long. This has to be fixed or what is happening is going to continue to happen. At the same time, I think Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have rolled out the red carpet and now we have a total humanitarian crisis. You’ve seen the picture of people confined under the bridge, nothing is humane about that. We are going to see an uptick in human trafficking, we are seeing an uptick in drug trafficking. We have got to secure our border. We have got to have a consistent immigration policy that draws a hard line on what is going on. We have to have a system that is merit-based.

When asked for a solution to immigration, the candidate said, “There needs to be a consistent policy that does not allow people to continue to cross the border illegally and does create a pathway to citizenship.”

Keeney stated she does not like that the idea of executive orders to govern but does want the policy to be consistent across the board.

The former presidential campaign staffer was quick to attack Governor Terry McAuliffe when asked about election integrity.

Keeney said “You have been following the presidential election. Even Terry McAuliffe called into question the 2000 election. We want to make sure your ballot is safe, secure, and is counted.”

Keeney does not support H.R. 1, and believes that federalizing elections is “not the solution.” She stated she is in support of Voter I.D. laws.

National File recently published information accusing Taylor Keeney of being a “Never-Trumper” who supported Rep. Liz Cheney’s impeachment efforts in 2021. Keeney said she wasn’t surprised she was getting attacked so early, but could only add that she voted for President Trump and that she wanted to unite the Republican Party to defeat Abigail Spanberger.

The Goochland County resident is partial to her home county as her favorite part of the district. When speaking of her favorite parts of the district, Keeney speaks highly of the Hardywood Brewing’s West Creek location.

As the interview was winding down, the first-time candidate said she could win because, she said, unlike her other viable opponents in Tina Ramirez and Delegate John McGuire (R-Goochland), “I haven’t run and lost. I think that matters, I don’t have that baggage. I have never lost. I think we need someone who can actually win. I have the ability to bring a lot of different people into the process, new voices into the process.”

She said she has supporters who previously supported former Congressman Dave Brat and former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

While many in the Republican Party of Virginia speculate that this seat will have a nominating convention over a primary, Keeney said she doesn’t have a preferred method. She only stated that “I wish we knew now what the method would be. We are building out a campaign ready for a primary. We are building out a campaign ready for a convention.”

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Matt Colt Hall is a reporter for The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattColtHall on Twitter. Send tips to [email protected]
Photo “Taylor Thorney Keeney” by Taylor Keeney for Congress.