Mar 2, 2022 - Politics

Rep. Van Taylor apologizes for affair with ex-ISIS widow, drops out of runoff

Van Taylor looking to his left
Texas Rep. Van Taylor. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Van Taylor has apologized for an affair with the widow of an ISIS member from Texas and will halt his run for re-election, conceding the GOP runoff to former Collin County judge Keith Self, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Why it matters: Stories about the infidelity surfaced in the days leading to Tuesday’s primary on the National File and Breitbart.

  • The revelation likely accounted for the two-term representative’s relatively poor showing. Taylor finished with about 49% of the GOP primary vote and was likely to face Self in a runoff in May.

What they’re saying: “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,” Taylor said in an email to supporters.

What happened: Tania Joya contacted Suzanne Harp, one of Taylor’s opponents in the primary, to share details of the affair. Joya says she and Taylor met through her work helping reprogram extremists, per the Dallas Morning News.

  • Joya’s relationship with Taylor lasted from October 2020 to June 2021.
  • Joya told the Dallas Morning News that she didn’t realize the primary was five days away when she contacted Harp, that she was just annoyed seeing Taylor’s face on billboards as she drove around Plano.
  • “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 paper.

Zoom out: Taylor’s campaign website describes him as a “family man” and features a prominent photo of him with his wife, Anne. They have three daughters.

  • Taylor received “A” grades from the NRA and National Right to Life in addition to support from Sen. Ted Cruz. But former President Trump stopped short of endorsing him.

Billboards in Collin County attacked Taylor for voting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, saying he “betrayed” Republicans.

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