Rep. Van Taylor (R-Texas) has ended his reelection campaign after admitting to having an affair with Tania Joya, the widow of an American who joined ISIS.
Taylor, who was bidding for a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, made the announcement shortly after he was forced into a runoff for the GOP nomination after garnering 48.7 percent of the vote in the primary, just shy of the 50 percent needed to win his party’s nomination.
In an emailed statement to supporters, Taylor called his extra-marital affair the “greatest failure” of his life.
“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,” he said in a public statement.
“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 continued. “I have let down so many other family members, friends, colleagues, supporters, and the people of the 3rd Congressional District whom I have had the great honor and privilege to represent. I am truly sorry, and I hope in time I can earn their forgiveness.”
Taylor, who represents a northeast Texas district, added that he had spoken with primary runner-up Keith Self, “and I wish him the best as he seeks to become the next congressman for this district.”
Harvard graduate Taylor has been married to his wife Anne Coolidge since 2004, and they share three daughters.
However, the Republican candidate allegedly had a nine-month-long affair with Joya, who is the widow of John Georgelas, a convert to Islam from Plano, Texas, who joined ISIS in 2013.
In September 2020, Joya spoke to the Guardian where she described how she met Georgelas in the early 2000s and got married before he took her and their children to Syria.
While there, Joya, who has been dubbed the “ISIS bride” by British tabloids, said Georgelas “played an essential part in establishing the caliphate and was a leading propagandist for Islamic State, helping to groom other westerners.”
Joya said she later discovered Georgelas had died in 2017, “most likely during U.S. bombing.” She has since remarried IT executive Craig Bruma.
But according to Joya, she and Taylor met when she was working with a program called “Preventing Violent Extremism” (PVE). She told The Dallas Morning News that the affair went on between October 2020 to June 2021 and they were “very close.”
Joya told National File that she and Taylor became sexually intimate soon after meeting and that Taylor provided her with financial help, even agreeing to purchase her home for $600,000.
The affair was allegedly exposed with the help of a third Republican candidate, Suzanne Harp, a banker endorsed by former President Donald Trump, according to Joya.
Joya claimed that she was not even aware the primary was just five days away when she contacted Harp for her help because she was fed up of seeing her former lover’s face on billboards as she drove around Plano.
“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 Dallas Morning News.
The Epoch Times has contacted Taylor for comment.
Taylor now has until March 16 to withdraw his name off the runoff ballot, which a spokesperson said he plans to do. Self will then become the automatic nominee for the district.
“If he withdraws by 5 p.m. on March 16, then the other candidate is declared the nominee and the runoff election is canceled,” Sam Taylor, spokesman for the Texas secretary of state, told The Dallas Morning News.
Following Taylor’s announcement, Self published a statement on Twitter saying, “I hope to earn your trust as we move towards our common goal of restoring integrity to Congressional District 3, and I want you to know that there is a place for you at our table.”