Texas Republican exits House race after admitting to an extramarital affair with an ISIS member’s widow
When Texas held its GOP and Democratic primaries on Tuesday, March 1, Rep. Van Taylor survived primary challenges from fellow Republicans who attacked him for being insufficiently MAGA — and he was scheduled to go to a runoff against former Collin County Judge Keith Self in May. But Taylor, Reuters reports, has dropped out of the race, admitting that he had an extramarital affair with the widow of an American man who joined the terrorist organization ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria).
The Dallas Morning News quoted Taylor as 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.”
The widow was named Tania Joya, a resident of Plano, Texas who is originally from the U.K. Joya married Plano native John Georgelas, who became an ISIS fighter in Syria before being killed in 2017. The affair, Joya told the Dallas Morning News, lasted from October 2020 to June 2021.
Joya also said that she contacted Suzanne Harp, one of the Republicans competing with Taylor in that primary, about her affair with the GOP congressman and hoped that she would privately persuade Taylor to drop out of the race. Instead, according to Joya, Harp sent someone to interview her and shared the information with some right-wing websites.
In MAGA circles, Taylor has been attacked as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) for voting to certify now-President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on January 6, 2021 and for voting in favor of a congressional panel to investigate the insurrection that occurred that day. And the congressional primary in Taylor’s district found the incumbent battling four other Republicans for the nomination.
Taylor got the most votes, but Self, who was endorsed by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, was in second place — and the runoff election in May would have been a contest between Taylor and Self. But with Taylor having dropped out of the race, Self becomes the nominee and will be going up against a Democrat in the general election.
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