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Texas Rep. Van Taylor admits affair, ends reelection campaign

Two-term Republican forced into runoff after allegations surfaced

Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, ended his campaign for a third term Wednesday, a day after not getting enough votes in the primary to avoid a runoff.
Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, ended his campaign for a third term Wednesday, a day after not getting enough votes in the primary to avoid a runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A day after being forced into a runoff, Texas GOP Rep. Van Taylor ended his campaign for reelection Wednesday and admitted he had an extramarital affair.

“About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world,” the two-term Republican said in an email to supporters. “I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life.” 

Taylor led the five-candidate field for the Republican nomination in the 3rd District after Tuesday’s primary, but he did not clear the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff election. Retired Army officer Keith Self, a former Collin County judge, won the second runoff slot with less than 26 percent of the vote. He’s now the favorite to win the seat in a district that became more Republican after redistricting.

Taylor said in his email that he’d spoken with Self and that, “I wish him the best as he seeks to become the next congressman for this district.”

Self said in a statement he respected Taylor’s decision.

“This is a time for us all to pull together and focus on the country’s challenges and opportunities,” he said.

A former Marine and state legislator, Taylor drew criticism from the far-right after he voted to certify the 2020 election and for a nonpartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

Taylor’s infidelity became known just ahead of the Tuesday election.

Tania Joya, a woman known as the “ISIS Bride” after a previous marriage to an American who joined the Islamic State, said in an interview with a right-wing website National File that she’d had an affair with Taylor, the Dallas Morning News reported. The Morning News said the interview had been arranged by Suzanne Harp, a third candidate in the primary, after Joya reached out to her hoping that she would persuade Taylor to drop out of the campaign and resign from Congress.

Joya told the Morning News that Taylor also gave her $5,000 to pay off a credit card as their relationship ended and that he told her not to tell anyone. The newspaper said Taylor intended to continue to serve until his term ends in January.

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