Rep. Joe Barton Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rep. Joe Baron (R-TX) announced Thursday that he would retire at the end of his current term following a second revelation about his online habits, this time that he sent messages that were sexual in nature to a constituent.

“I am very proud of my public record and the many accomplishments of my office,” Barton said in a statement Thursday. “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.”

The congressman’s statement did not mention the turmoil he’s faced over the past week.

Last week, Barton apologized after a photo of his genitalia that he had shared with a “mature adult” woman other than his wife at the time, he said, had leaked on the internet.

At that point, Barton said he was “deciding how to respond, quite frankly.” Earlier this month, Barton had announced he would seek re-election.

On Wednesday, Tea Party organizer and Barton constituent Kelly Canon revealed that Barton sometimes sent her messages that were sexual in nature over the course of otherwise political conversations online since 2011.

“We would chat about 97 percent politics, and one percent A&M. The other percent he would ask what I was wearing. I thought that was inappropriate, so I would shut it down,” Canon said.

“This is an effort not only to get him not to run again, but to get other people — but to get other women — to come forward, too,” she said, as quoted by KXAS.