Texas Rep. Van Taylor ends re-election campaign after admitting to extramarital affair

Rep. Van Taylor.
(Image credit: Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP, File)

Rep. Van Taylor (R-Texas) announced on Wednesday he is ending his re-election bid, two days after it was reported he had an affair with a former jihadist and then paid her $5,000 to stay silent.

Taylor sent an email to supporters on Wednesday stating that "about a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in the world. I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life. I want to apologize for the pain I have caused with my indiscretion, most of all to my wife, Anne, and our three daughters." He has represented the 3rd Congressional District since 2018.

On Monday, conservative website Breitbart News published an interview with Tania Joya, an ex-jihadist whose first husband, Yahya Abu Hassan (born John Georgelas), was an Islamic State commander. She went to Syria with him and their three children in 2013, leaving after a few weeks; he remained and was killed in 2017. Joya claimed to have had an affair with Taylor that lasted for several months, and said he paid her $5,000 so she wouldn't tell anyone about their dalliance. In his email admitting to an affair, Taylor did not name Joya.

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In Tuesday's primary election, Taylor received 49 percent of the vote, forcing him into a runoff election with former Collin County Judge Keith Self. Taylor's spokesperson told The Texas Tribune he will remove his name from the runoff ballot before the March 16 deadline. Self will become the Republican nominee after this takes place, and will face Democrat Sandeep Srivastava in November. The Tribune says the GOP nominee is expected to win, as the district was redrawn last year to favor Republicans.

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