US Rep. Van Taylor ends re-election campaign after admitting affair with ‘ISIS bride’

PLANO, Texas – U.S. Rep. VanTaylorR-Plano, has decided to end his re-election campaign after being forced into a runoff election amid allegations of infidelity in the 11th hour.

The video above is from a previous story.

Taylor made the impressive announcement on Wednesday, hours after he finished his five-way primary with 49% of the vote and narrowly missed the cutoff for overall primary victory. Runner-up was former Collin County Judge Keith Self, who is now likely to become the next Congressman for the 3rd Circuit.

“About a year ago I made a terrible mistake that caused deep hurt and pain to those I love most in this world,” Taylor wrote in an email to supporters. “I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the biggest failure of my life. I would like to apologize for the pain my indiscretion has caused, especially to my wife Anne and our three daughters.”

The day before the primary, the conservative newspaper Breitbart News reported posted a story that Taylor had a month-long affair with a Plano woman, Tania Joya, whom he had paid $5,000 to keep quiet. The publication reported that she provided a phone screenshot claiming to be a communication with Taylor and a bank statement showing she deposited $5,000 into her account. The Texas Tribune could not independently verify the report.

Taylor is married and has three children.

Joya is known as a former jihadist who was once married to an Islamic State commander. Tabloids have dubbed her an “IS bride.”

Efforts to reach Joya were not immediately successful on Wednesday.

According to a spokesman, Taylor has until March 16 to remove his name from the runoff, which he plans to do. After that, Self is automatically the Republican nominee for the district. There is a Democratic nominee for the seat, Sandeep Srivastava, but they face long odds after the district was redrawn in favor of Republicans last year.

Taylor, a former state senator, was first elected in 2018 to represent the 3rd congressional district in the Dallas suburbs. His four main challengers on Tuesday criticized his voting last year for a commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Self trailed Taylor by 27% as of Tuesday’s primary. He was followed by Suzanne Harp with 21% and the two remaining challengers were in the low single digits.

In his email to supporters, Taylor said he spoke to Self about his decision to end his campaign, “and I wish him the best as he tries to become the next congressman for this district.”

Self, who served three terms as a district judge beginning in 2007, competed against Taylor as someone who was “lost” and “went to Washington.” He criticized Taylor for voting to certify the 2020 election results and pledged support for a “full forensic review” of the Texas election.

All challengers focused on Taylor’s 2021 vote for a proposed bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 events, when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol. The commission never became law, but Speaker of the Democratic House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi later formed a special committee on Jan. 6, the work of which is ongoing. Taylor voted against that committee, but his opponents blurred the distinction when they attacked Taylor as insufficient support for Trump.

Trump never endorsed in the primary, while Taylor boasted a list of endorsements maintained by a US senator. ted cruz and ran TV ads that aligned with Trump’s “America First” message.

It was all a political twist of fate for Taylor, who faced a hard fought battle in last year’s general election and was known as “Mr. Bipartisan” failed. But the redistribution turned his district into a Republican stronghold and provided more fertile ground for the primary opposition.

Before going to Congress, Taylor served in the Texas Legislature and built a reputation as a staunch conservative. He was a member of the State House from 2010 to 2015 and of the Texas Senate from 2015 to 2019.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that educates and collaborates with Texans on public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. US Rep. Van Taylor ends re-election campaign after admitting affair with ‘ISIS bride’

Dais Johnston

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