Taylor to Palazzo: “If that’s your former chief of staff, what does that say about you, Steven?”

Congressional candidate Gene Taylor was defeated for re-election in 2010 by Republican state representative Steven Palazzo, when Taylor was a member of the Democratic Party.

In February 2014, Taylor announced he would run against Palazzo on June third for the congressional primary as a Republican.

The Taylor campaign hosted a campaign fundraiser in Hattiesburg on Thursday night where Taylor spoke candidly about issues ranging from the defense budget, to Palazzo’s former staff.

“I’ve always been pro-life, pro-gun, for a strong national defense.”

Taylor challenged Palazzo to a debate on Thursday, but according to HuntingtonIngalls.com, when Taylor attempted to present the challenge, Palazzo was touring Ingalls and discussing flood insurance and mitigation.

“I hand-delivered a letter challenging Steven Palazzo to debate, because I feel like the people in South Mississippi need for him to explain why he voted to cut the defense budget by 490 billion,” Taylor said.

Taylor also spoke about alleged misconduct among Palazzo staff members in past years.

Taylor: “As you know there have been a number of published reports of the misconduct of his staff. There is now a person down in South Mississippi in Biloxi who recently admitted to defrauding the government of $180,000. That’s Steven Palazzo’s former Chief of Staff by the name of Michael Janus. And again, it is about who you surround yourself with. And, yes, they could say Michael Janus didn’t do that while he was working for Steven Palazzo, but it is something that he did, and, yes, he was Steven Palazzo’s former chief of staff.”

Beech: “And you’re saying that’s a negative reflection?”

Taylor: “Absolutely, that’s a negative reflection. Your staff is very much a reflection of the member of congress. They can be hand-picked by the member of congress, and they can be hand-fired by the member of congress… So for a guy like that who has recently admitted to defaulting the government of about $180,000, if that’s your former chief of staff, what does that say about you, Steven?”