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.
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.”