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Texas congressman ends reelection bid after admitting affair with ex-jihadist

Republican U.S. Representative Van Taylor said the affair "was the greatest failure of my life," two days after former jihadist Tania Joya disclosed screenshots of graphic text messages about sex acts.

DALLAS (CN) — Republican Texas Congressman Van Taylor abruptly ended his reelection campaign Wednesday and admitted to an affair, two days after so-called “ISIS bride” Tania Joya accused him of paying her $5,000 in hush money and pestering her daily with sexually charged text messages.

Taylor made the stunning admission hours after he received the most votes in the Republican primary for Texas’ 3rd Congressional District with 49% – just shy of the 50% required to avoid a runoff. The candidate with the second-most votes is former Collin County Judge Keith Self, who is now expected to be the Republican nominee.

In an email message to supporters, Taylor he made a “horrible mistake” during the affair one year ago “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,” he said. “I want to apologize for the pain I have caused with my indiscretion, most of all to my wife Anne and our three daughters."

Taylor was seeking his third term in office against four other Republican candidates. He added that he has spoken with Self and wishes him the best in his campaign.

One day before Texas’ Tuesday primary, far-right news website Brietbart News published screenshots of Joya’s bank statement showing a $5,000 cash deposit last June. She claimed the affair ended that month and had lasted since November 2020. She claimed Taylor “wanted me to be his loyal, faithful and permanent” mistress.

“He considered me his girlfriend. He labeled me his girlfriend, his mistress,” Joya said. “I told him that I found him attractive. After that for an entire month, every day during October 2020, he wouldn’t stop messaging me like crazy. It was just so distracting. He was going crazy for it.”

Joya said that the last time she saw Taylor, he told her “you’re never going to have a career as a therapist because no one will trust you.”

Joya, of Plano, was born in the United Kingdom to Bangladeshi parents. She met American jihadist John Thomas Georgelas when she was 19 years old and they later married and moved to Syria under the Islamic State. She later left Syria with their three children and settled in the United States due to the children’s American citizenship and her cooperation with authorities against the terrorist group, known as ISIS. Joya has been referred to as an "ISIS bride" because of her marriage to Georgelas.

Conservatives have heavily criticized Taylor after he joined 34 other House Republicans in voting for the independent commission probing the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on Capitol Hill.

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