Following Tuesday’s primaries in Texas, Van Taylor acknowledged in an email the “deep pain” he caused his wife and daughters.
He continued “I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life.”
Taylor didn’t mention the woman he had an affair with — but she came forward and revealed her identity as Tania Joya.
Joya was previously married to deceased ISIS leader John Georgelas.
She’s lived in Plano, Texas since fleeing Syria in 2013.
Watch the local reaction to Taylor’s announcement:
The New York Post further reports:
Joya, 38, claimed she and Taylor, a Marine vet, were “very close” after meeting through her work helping to reprogram extremists that she started after returning to the US from Syria, the Dallas Morning News reported.
She told the news site that the pair started sexting with each other and an intimate, physical relationship soon followed that lasted about eight months.
Toward the end of their affair, Joya asked Taylor for help paying off some bills and she claimed he agreed and gave her $5,000, but only if she kept her mouth shut. The alleged hush money was first reported by Breitbart News.
“I needed help. I was like, just help me out because that’s the least — the very least — he could do,” she told the outlet.
The exposé against Van Taylor was allegedly planned by Suzanne Harp, one of his local GOP rivals.
The Post reports that Harp initially contacted Joya in the hopes of using her to quietly convince Taylor to drop his reelection bid.
Eventually, Harp sent someone to speak to Joya. A recording of their conversation was provided to the National File shortly before the primary.
From there it spread rapidly.
Right before his announcement, Taylor had been forced into a primary election runoff with Collin County judge Keith Self.