Texas Rep. Joe Barton to Retire After Nude Selfie Scandal

Rep. Joe Barton, the ninth most-senior member of the House, told the Dallas Morning news in an interview, “There are enough people who lost faith in me that it’s time to step aside.” | Mike Stone/Getty Images

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) announced Thursday that he won’t run for reelection in 2018, following a string of stories about him sending lewd texts and nude photos and videos to women.

Barton, the ninth-most senior member of the House, told The Dallas Morning News in an interview, “There are enough people who lost faith in me that it’s time to step aside.” Local GOP leaders had begun calling for Barton to step down in recent days.

Barton’s decision to retire comes after fallout in Texas over an anonymous Twitter user’s move to post a nude selfie Barton sent to a former paramour. His announcement also came a day after the Fort Worth Star-Telegram posted racy text messages Barton sent to an Arlington GOP activist while he was still married.

He had announced plans to run for reelection less than a month ago.

Barton, 68, one of the House’s most conservative members, began his tenure in 1985 and has represented the Dallas suburbs since. The scandal stunned Republican colleagues and came just days after The Dallas Morning News ran an upbeat profile under the headline “Why Rep. Joe Barton sticks around as other Texans kiss Congress goodbye.”

“I’m the odd duck who didn’t quit,” the Ennis, Texas, resident told the paper just weeks after a handful of other veteran Texas lawmakers announced their retirements. “Shows how much sense I have.”

In a reelection announcement in early November, Barton said he hoped to continue to work on the issues he’s pursued throughout his career.

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SOURCE: Politico, Kyle Cheney