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Rep. Van Taylor (R) drops reelection bid after acknowledging extramarital affair

Rep. Van Taylor (R-Tex.) listens during a 2020 hearing. (Caroline Brehman/Pool/CQ Roll Call/AP)

Rep. Van Taylor (R-Tex.) on Wednesday abruptly dropped his reelection bid, acknowledging in an email to supporters that he had engaged in an extramarital affair.

The announcement came one day after Taylor was forced into a runoff against former Collin County judge Keith Self (R), who took 26.5 percent of Tuesday’s primary day vote to Taylor’s 48.7 percent.

News of Taylor’s affair with Tania Joya, a former Islamist militant who now works to “reprogram” other extremists, had circulated on conservative websites in the days leading up to the primary. Joya told the Dallas Morning News that she and Taylor had an affair from October 2020 to June 2021.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Taylor wrote that he would not continue his reelection bid.

“About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world. I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life,” he wrote, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Taylor apologized for “the pain I have caused with my indiscretion, most of all to my wife Anne and our three daughters.”

“For months, Anne and I have been working to repair the scars left by my actions. I am unworthy, but eternally thankful for her love and forgiveness,” he wrote.

A Taylor spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Taylor is the 15th House Republican to decline to seek reelection this year. Thirty-one House Democrats have similarly opted not to run for reelection, ahead of a November midterm in which their party faces long odds of retaining control of the House.

Taylor represents the Dallas suburbs, and unlike most of his Texas Republican colleagues, he voted to affirm Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Taylor also voted, with several other Republicans, to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Senate Republicans later blocked that effort, and House Democrats instead created a bipartisan committee to probe the insurrection.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Joya, who lives in Plano, last week contacted another of the candidates in the GOP primary, Suzanne Harp, telling her of the affair and asking her to persuade Taylor to drop out of the race.

Harp instead sent a supporter to interview Joya, the newspaper reported, and conservative websites soon spread stories of the affair.

“All I wanted was for Suzanne Harp to just say, ‘Hey, I know your little scandal with Tania Joya. Would you like to resign before we embarrass you?’ But it didn’t happen like that,” Joya told the newspaper.

Amber Phillips contributed to this report.