Politics

Barton’s Hometown Both Disgusted and Dismissive of Nude Photo

‘What kind of message does that send to the kids?’ one resident of Ennis, Texas, asks

Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton said last week he is re-evaluating whether to seek an 18th term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Constituents in Rep. Joe L. Barton’s hometown of Ennis, Texas, were both disgusted and dismissive after a nude photo of the Republican congressman circulated on the internet last week. 

While some residents of Barton’s 6th District expressed disgust to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, others were dismissive of the news.

Larry Hagan, who graduated from the same high school a year before the longtime lawmaker, told the newspaper that Barton should resign.

“What kind of message does that send to the kids?” he asked. “It’s not very good.”

Despite being a Republican, Hagan said he never voted for Barton and he wasn’t optimistic about his re-election chances.

“If he runs again, he’s not going to get it,” he said.

Others were dismissive of the news.

“There’s not a single person in Ennis who can throw a stone,” said one woman dining at Bailey’s Restaurant, who declined to give her name to the newspaper. “Everybody has done something.”

“It’s not our first scandal,” another woman said. 

But Margie Wolf, who said she voted for Barton in the past, said it would be “very good” if he did not run for re-election.

“I was surprised absolutely. I’m disappointed,” she said.

Barton apologized last week after the photo’s revelation, explaining he had been in a consensual relationship with the woman to whom he sent the image while he was separated from his second wife. The woman told The Washington Post she did not release the photo.

Barton also said he was evaluating whether he would run for re-election. The filing deadline for the March primary is Dec. 11. 

He said later that the Capitol Police had offered to investigate the photo and he accepted their offer and would not comment further while the investigation was proceeding.

First elected in 1984, Barton is the longest-serving member of the Texas delegation. He won re-election last year by 19 points, while President Donald Trump carried his district by 12 points. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 6th District race Solid Republican

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.