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Republican Rep. Joe Barton to retire following nude photo scandal

  • Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, announces he will not seek re-election next year.
  • Barton has come under fire after a nude photo he sent to a woman was posted online, and sexually suggestive messages he sent to another woman were made public.
  • Barton, who is married, regularly receives top scores from conservative groups, including the Family Research Council.

Representative Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas.
Joshua Roberts | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Representative Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas.

Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton, under fire for lewd behavior, announced Thursday he will not seek re-election next year.

Barton, 68, who exchanged nude photos with one woman and sent sexually suggestive messages to another, has represented the suburban Fort Worth district for more than 30 years.

As he noted in a statement, he has taken more than 20,000 votes on the House floor.

"I am very proud of my public record and the many accomplishments of my office," Barton's statement said. "It has been a tremendous honor to represent the 6th District of Texas for over three decades, but now it is time to step aside and let there be a new voice. I am announcing today that I will not seek reelection in 2018."

The announcement came a little more than a week after a nude photo of Barton was posted online, along with a sexually explicit message. The identity of the person who posted the image on Twitter is unknown, but Barton confirmed that the photo was authentic and apologized for a lack of judgment.

"While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women. Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended," Barton said in a statement Nov. 22. "I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down."

One week later, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published sexually suggestive messages between Barton and another woman dating to 2012, before Barton and his wife had separated. One of the messages from Barton said, "so that means u r wearing a tank top only, and no panties? right now?" [sic]

Barton is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, and he regularly receives top scores from conservative political groups like the American Conservative Union and the Family Research Council.