Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton, the dean of the Texas delegation, is now unsure if he will run for re-election, after a nude photo of him was posted on social media.
“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” Barton said in a statement to the Texas Tribune on Wednesday, regarding the photo. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”
Barton told the Tribune he was determining whether or not he would run for re-election.
“I am talking to a number of people, all of whom I have faith in and am deciding how to respond, quite frankly,” he said.
Barton is the ninth most senior member of the House. So far, six members of the Texas delegation have already announced they will not seek re-election to the House next year.
Earlier this month, the congressman had said he was running for an 18th term. “Much work remains in Washington and I hope to carry on the torch for the 6th District,“ Barton said at the time, according to McClatchy.
First elected in 1984, the former oil and gas consultant was elected chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2004 and was its top Republican until 2010. After trying for the gavel again last year, he’s now the committee’s vice chairman.
Barton is a member of the House GOP whip team but also part of the Freedom Caucus. From Ennis, Texas, the congressman was the only Texas Republican to sign onto the latest version of the so-called DREAM Act earlier this year. He sought to protect the Texas Rangers earlier this month when he filed an amendment to the GOP tax plan, for which he voted in favor of last week.
He also manages the GOP congressional baseball team. After this year’s shooting at the team’s practice in Alexandria, Virginia, Barton — whose two sons were with him at practice that morning — spoke frequently on behalf of the team and appeared with the Democrats’ coach, Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle.
Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.