Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, acknowledging he had an affair with the widow of an ISIS recruiter, has dropped his bid for a third term, The Dallas Morning News is reporting.
The newspaper said Taylor conceded the GOP runoff to Keith Self, a former county judge.
"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 said in an email to supporters. "I had an affair; it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life."
His decision to quit the race came after reports he had been in a relationship with the widow of an American-born recruiter for ISIS, The Washington Post reported.
The Dallas newspaper noted the British tabloids dubbed her the "ISIS bride."
The widow, Tania Joya, had reportedly contacted a third candidate in the race, Suzanne Harp, before Tuesday’s primary.
The News said Joya had hoped Harp would persuade him to drop out and resign from Congress.
Harp sent a supporter to interview her.
Joya said she didn't expect to become part of the campaign.
"All I wanted was for Suzanne Harp to just say, Hey, I know your little scandal with Tania Joya. Would you like to resign before we embarrass you? But it didn’t happen like that," Joya told the paper.
John Georgelas, Joya's first husband, grew up in Plano, Texas. He converted to Islam and became a top recruiter for the extremist Islamic State, according to the News.
He took her and their three children to Northern Syria in 2013, and as Yahya Abu Hassan, he became a key American fighting for ISIS, the News said.
She said she fled to Turkey three weeks later with her children.
He was killed in 2017, the newspaper said.
Joya said she first met Taylor while working as an ex-jihadist helping to reprogram extremists. She said the affair started in October 2020 and lasted until June 2021.
"We were very close," Joya told the News on Monday night.
But she said as her affair with Taylor waned, she asked for money to pay off a credit card and bills. Joya said he gave her $5,000.
"I needed help. I was like, Just help me out, because that's the least — the very least — he could do," she said. "For him, it was like, 'OK, on the condition you don’t tell anyone.' "
The News noted Taylor was one of five Texas Republicans who voted to certify President Joe Biden's victory in every state.
Taylor’s office did not immediately respond to a request from The Washington Post for a comment.
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