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2022 Elections

U.S. Rep. Van Taylor ends reelection campaign after he admits to affair

Van Taylor.JPG
Bob Daemmrich
/
The Texas Tribune
"About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world," U.S. Rep. Van Taylor wrote in an email to supporters.

Taylor made the stunning announcement hours after he finished his five-way primary with 49% of the vote, forcing him into a primary runoff.

U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, has decided to end his reelection campaign after he was forced into a primary runoff amid 11th-hour allegations of infidelity.

Taylor made the stunning announcement Wednesday, hours after he finished his five-way primary with 49% of the vote, just missing the cutoff for winning the primary outright. The runner-up was former Collin County Judge Keith Self.

"About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among 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 greatest failure of my life. I want to apologize for the pain I have caused with my indiscretion, most of all to my wife Anne and our three daughters."

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 she deposited $5,000 into her account.

Taylor is married with three children.

Joya is known as a former jihadist who was once married to a commander for the Islamic State. Tabloids have referred to her as “ISIS bride.”

Efforts to reach Joya were not immediately successful Wednesday.

Taylor, a former state senator, was first elected in 2018 to represent the 3rd Congressional District in the Dallas suburbs. His four primary challengers on Tuesday criticized his vote last year for a commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Self got 27% behind Taylor in the primary Tuesday. He was followed by Suzanne Harp at 21%, and the two remaining challengers were in the low single digits.