Texas Congressman Van Taylor Admits Affair With ‘ISIS Bride,’ Drops Reelection Bid
Well, not a lot of people saw this story coming.
Two-term congressman Van Taylor was forced into a runoff on Tuesday night when he received 49 percent of the vote in the Republican Primary. For most of the primary, Van Taylor looked as though he would cruise to victory, but a late-hour allegation led to his campaign ending the night just shy of 50 percent, and later to end the campaign altogether in a shocking fashion.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Suzanne Harp, a third candidate in the primary race against Taylor, was contacted by a Plano woman named Tania Joya who wanted Harp to confront Taylor privately. Harp sent a supporter to interview Joya about the alleged affair. On Sunday, audio of the interview, which was about 35 minutes long, was posted to a website called National File, then picked up and fully reported on by Breitbart.
Joya is an ex-jihadist who was given the nickname "ISIS Bride" by British tabloids. She was once married to a commander for the Islamic State. According to the Texas Tribune, Joya alleges that Taylor paid her to keep quiet:
The day before the primary, the conservative outlet Breitbart News posted a story, which The Texas Tribune has not been able to independently verify, that claims that Taylor had a monthslong affair with a Plano woman, Tania Joya, who alleged he paid her $5,000 to keep quiet. The publication reported that she provided it a phone screen shot purporting to be communications with Taylor and a bank record showing that $5,000 had been deposited into her account.
On Wednesday, Taylor admitted to the affair and apologized to his wife and three daughters along with the supporters of his campaign.
“I want to apologize 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,” said Taylor.
Taylor said in a statement that the affair was a mistake: "It was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life."
The runner-up in Tuesday's primary, former Collin County Judge Keith Self, will likely become the next congressman for the 3rd District as long as Taylor withdraws by March 16th by 5 p.m.