Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, is going to retire after the end of his current congressional term.
The longtime congressman decided to end his political career on Thursday, after the revelation last week that he had engaged in an extramarital affair, according to the Dallas Morning News. Although Barton had said that he would run for an 18th term only three weeks earlier, he changed his mind after realizing that his constituents would not be supportive of a reelection campaign.
"I’ve always listened to people in Texas and worked for them in Washington, and I’ve been listening to a lot of people the last week in Texas," Barton told the Morning News. ". . . There are enough people who lost faith in me that it’s time to step aside and let there be a new voice for the 6th district in Washington, so I am not going to run for re-election."
Barton found himself in hot water when nude photographs of himself were leaked on Twitter. Although he admitted to having extramarital affairs, he insisted that all of the women were adults and that the relationships themselves were consensual — points that no one so far has contested. Barton also said on Thursday that he believed himself to be a victim of "revenge porn," which is when someone releases sexually explicit materials about another person without their consent and with malicious intent. Asked by a constituent at a town hall in May if he supports federal legislation to combat such acts, he said, "that's a state issue, not a federal issue," and shouted, "shut up," to the angered crowd.
When Barton met with prominent Republicans in his district to discuss his political future this week, he found considerable opposition to him seeking another term.
Barton was the longest-serving member of Texas' congressional delegation, developing a reputation as a staunch anti-environmentalist and ally of the oil and gas industries. He was particularly notorious for denying that man-made climate change is a scientific fact and for apologizing to British Petroleum when President Barack Obama pressured them into establishing a $20 billion relief fund for the victims of their 2010 oil spill.