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After Back-to-Back Sex Scandals, Joe Barton Announces Retirement

The veteran lawmaker says he will not run for re-election next year.

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Representative Joe Barton, R-Texas, at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.
Photograph by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Congressman Joe Barton, a Republican who was elected 32 years ago to replace Phil Gramm in the U.S. House, announced today that he will not seek re-election next year. This followed revelations that he sent one woman a nude photo and video of himself and asked another in a Facebook chat whether she was wearing underwear. Both incidents occurred in 2012, when Barton was estranged from his wife, but they came to light beginning last week.

Barton made the retirement announcement in an interview with the Dallas Morning News. “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,” he said. “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.”

After the nude photo of Barton surfaced on the internet last week (the Washington Post reported that it was taken from a video of him masturbating), Barton apologized and said it had been sent to an adult woman with whom he was having a consensual affair. He also claimed that its release was potentially a case of revenge porn, which might have allowed him to preserve his political career. But on Tuesday another woman released Facebook chats in which Barton asked her whether she was wearing panties, and any chance of political survival vanished.

Jake Ellzey, a former Navy pilot from Midlothian, entered the race after the photos of Barton became public. There also has been a movement to draft Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright, a former Barton staffer, but he is 64 and may not want to run. On Tuesday, state senator Konni Burton touted Wright in a statement calling on Barton to drop his re-election bid. Now Burton and Senator Brian Birdwell have been mentioned as possible Republican candidates as well. Another name that’s been floated is Taya Kyle, widow of the late Navy Seal Chris Kyle.

Meanwhile, the field of Democratic candidates who have filed has grown and now includes Ruby Faye Woolridge, Jana Lynne Sanchez, and Levii R. Shocklee, all from Arlington. Still, the district’s voting history leans heavily Republican, making it unlikely that any Democrat can win.

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  • John Bernard Books

    It wasn’t like he was falsifying time sheets for per diem…….

    • Xaca

      You don’t know that. Were any public funds spent for travel expenses, lodging, or food for any of Barton’s several co-fornicators?

      • John Bernard Books

        winner winner chicken dinner…..another clueless dem misses the point.


    My only fear is that with the way the GOP primaries usually go we will get someone who is even a worse vote than Barton……Koni Burton certainly would be just that….but I understand she is endorsing the TAC.

    • anonyfool

      Maybe we’ll get lucky and it’s someone who at least is not as big as a jacka$$ as Barton is in congress and in real life. That would be an improvement, and there is chance, but it’s possible it would have been a better chance if he stayed in the race and anyone else beat him.

  • John Bernard Books

    What a great day to be an American…
    My Tx State Rep’s conviction was upheld by Tx Appeals Court….another convicted dem in office….
    A San Francisco jury found a 7 time felon, 5 time deported illegal innocent after he murdered an American citizen….
    and Matt Lauer is sorry…he got caught…..

  • SpiritofPearl
  • SpiritofPearl

    The only use for Blake is as ballast on a ship. Another member of the TX GOP delegation to cause embarrassment. $84000 payout – your tax dollars at work:


  • anonyfool

    For those who aren’t GOP diehards, this has not been covered by Texas Monthly yet. It’s a start, better than depending upon one candidate or one donor.



    And now Blake Farenthold…..he of the pajamas pictures…will there be enough pressure to get him out of office? One can only hope.

    • SpiritofPearl

      The taxpayers paid $84,000 for his foolishness, yet he’s worth $5.8 million.

  • John Bernard Books

    Are dems obsessed with sex?
    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts passed the US Senate w/o dem support 51-49.

  • BCinBCS

    This is OT in regards to Barton but…

    I suppose that most of you heard that the Senate passed their version of the tax reform scam Friday and it now will go to a reconciliation committee before coming up for a final vote. I doubt that there is more than one or two people who read this comment who will not have their taxes go up. On top of that, the deficit and the debt will also explode.

    It amazes me that such an unread, unfair, unpopular and damaging bill can be passed, all in the name of achieving a political “victory” before Christmas. Paraphrasing how one media outlet put it: A deeply unpopular congress passed a deeply unpopular bill for a deeply unpopular president to sign.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Amen, Mr. B, but thank God I’ll still be able to deduct expenses for my private jet and yacht.

      Recession on the horizon . .

      • BCinBCS

        Yea Pearl, I appreciate being able to utilize those deductions too.

    • José

      I’m puzzled at a few Senators who stood firm on principle a few months ago but dropped that integrity this time. Collins, Murkowski, McCain. What changed?

      Maybe the reason for rushing this thing is that they expect to lose one Senate seat in this month’s special election in Alabama. Maybe they wanted to get it done in time to take effect by New Years Day 2018. Or maybe the Republicans figured that they don’t have anything to lose so they might as well loot the store good before leaving. Everyone is already angry at them and ready to lay down some punishment next year. It’s so bad that even this stunt won’t make their situation appreciably worse.

      • BCinBCS

        Jose´, I have read quite a bit of analysis about the reasons for this tax bill and all of the reasons that you give have come up but the one that is offered the most is your idea that the Republicans see the writing on the wall and are out to get as much as they can for themselves and their donors before they lose control of the government.

        There is, however another reason that has piqued my interest proposed by one of my favorite political writers, Jonathan Chait of the New York Magazine. In an article written November 30th, he reminds us that a very large proportion of the Republican party are economic libertarians and the leader of this Ayn Ryan inspired group is none other than the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

        Economic libertarians believe that the free-market should be the only controlling factor in economic matters and wealth distribution. Essentially, they believe that if you earn it, you should be able to keep it. This overarching concept has permeated the GOP. As Chait puts it:

        In addition to their belief in the curative powers of supply-side economics, and their desire to reward their donor base, conservatives consider redistribution a monstrous moral evil. Tax cuts represent a victory in a cause far larger than squeezing out a couple tenths of a percent of economic growth or another private jet for their rich friends.

        They are revealing that there is something more than dollars and sense at stake. They believe a political system that allows the majority to vote themselves a raise by taxing a minority is a form of persecution.

        An interesting side effect of this brand of libertarianism is its combination with hawkish foreign policy and social traditionalism to form what the Niskanen Center’s Will Wilkinson calls Fusionism. It is this fusion that has resulted in the contempt that conservatives now have for democratic norms as expressed vividly by our current president. Jonathan Chait writes:

        Liberals have had trouble grasping the willingness of conventional Republican politicians like Ryan to cooperate with Trump’s repeated violations of democratic norms. Why violate a core ideal like the sanctity of the republican form of government, they wonder, for a meager reward like tax cuts?

        From the standpoint of a Paul Ryan, however, he is not selling out. He is advancing his highest ideals of public service. The tax bill, protecting the makers from the predations of the takers, represents one of the great triumphs of freedom of his adult life.

        So I ask you: Are conservatives right in adopting libertarian economic policies? Is this the type of society that the United States should become? I once heard America described as a welfare nation with a military since about half of the money that it spends goes to social programs such as social security, medicare, medicaid and the VA and the other half of the money goes to the military. Should we get rid of the social program side of our nation?

        I, of course, have an opinion about libertarianism and the future path of our country but I’ll wait until, hopefully, others have given their thoughts before presenting mine. Have at it folks!


        • BCinBCS

          It would seem that no one is interested in libertarianism, so let me
          harp on trickle-down economics as it relates to the Republican tax plan
          now in Congress.

          Once again, Republicans and Comrade Trump are
          proclaiming the “high holy” of tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Not
          only will it not work but if it did, it would most
          certainly lead to an inflationary spiral and higher interest rates. The
          U.S. is at full employment and stimulation of the economy would cause
          businesses to the need more workers but at full employment, higher wages
          would be needed to attract them resulting in inflation. The Fed, in an
          attempt to slow inflation would be forced to increase interest rates.
          Anyone familiar with the business cycle knows that the next step would
          be a recession.

          Another argument for the Republican tax cuts on
          the rich is that it it would increase corporation bottom lines thus
          attracting foreign investment. (The effect of increasing shareholder
          earnings that attract foreign investors rather than wages in this
          Republican justification belies their claim that the wealth will
          “trickle down” to the workers.) Attracting foreign investment may
          increase GDP (the wealth generated by the entire U.S.) but it will not
          increase GNI (the wealth that goes to the people of the U.S.) because
          those foreign investors will receive their increased wealth in their
          home country, not in the U.S.

          So the bottom line is that
          trickle-down economics hasn’t worked and if it did it would lead to
          inflation, sky rocketing interest rate and, probably, a recession, all
          the while providing little increase in the living standards of the
          majority of Americans. Couple this with the fact that the tax plan now
          in reconciliation increases taxes on anyone making below $75,000 and it
          explodes the debt and deficit by at least one trillion dollars then
          opposition to it should be a no-brainer.

          Call your congresscritter, otherwise, suffer the consequences.

  • John Bernard Books

    Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge win for prez Trump
    ““Just what the country needs to get growing again,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an interview after a final burst of negotiation closed in on a nearly $1.5 trillion package that impacts the breadth of American society.”

    are you tired of not winning dems……

  • John Bernard Books

    Several bozos here mentioned the hit the stock market took on Friday……..
    “ABC News finally corrected the mistake after nearly eight hours — a period in which the stock market took a direct hit as a result of the false report.”

    democrats have been using “fake news” to crash the market and help their candidates for years. The question is should they go to jail?

  • John Bernard Books

    Free at last…free at last!
    “The Senate passed sweeping revisions to the U.S. tax code past midnight Saturday ”

    once again the republicans have freed the slaves……from democrats

  • SpiritofPearl

    Talking to Trump voters is like talking to a tree:


  • John Bernard Books

    Remember when Obama’s lawyers argued before SCOTUS that the Obamacare mandate was a tax….
    well Mitch just fixed that…….hahahaha now thats funny I don’t care who you are

  • John Bernard Books

    We will find and lock them up….
    “U.S. House Republicans are drafting a contempt of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, claiming stonewalling in producing material related to the Russia-Trump probes and other matters.”
    Still tyhink all dems aren’t corrupt?
    “In his statement Saturday, Nunes pointed to the reports that the official, Peter Strzok, was removed after allegedly having exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with his mistress, who was an FBI lawyer working for Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.”

    the dem party is finished…..


    His second wife says he had multiple extramarital affairs during their marriage……A real model for GOP congressmen ……all that “family values” stuff.

  • John Bernard Books
  • John Bernard Books

    How in the world can A&M pay $75 million for a fb coach?
    “A&M’s athletics department still turned a $57 million profit.
    That was enough to make A&M the most profitable college sports program in the country.”

    you’d think with all those UT lawyers they could sue someone…..


    And now Paul Pressler is being accused? When is the exposure of GOP big wigs going to end?


    There is a e-mail going around that claims that under the Trump tax bill Medicare will NO LONGER cover treatments for cancer…..

    Does anyone know if this is true? It is very hard to believe that even this bad bill would go that far.


    More and more Trump looks like Nixon….Now we have his lawyer echoing the Nixon claim that the president is above the law…and that nothing he does can be a crime…..I only hope that Trump’s presidency ends like Nixon’s.


    I understand the GOP’s “preferred” candidate to replace Barton, the current Tarrant County TAC, used to be Barton’s top aid and campaign manager. He is also 64, I believe, which suggests that he will not serve for too many more years, leaving the door open to people like Sen. Burton when she is ready……Since he was apparently so close to Barton I wonder if someone should ask him did he know about the numerous affairs the second Mrs. Barton says Barton had during their marriage and did he help cover them up? If he did it might suggest some moral problems of his own.


    I guess Trump thinks it is okay to lie to the FBI…..since he is attacking them for “ruining” Flynn’s lie for charging him for lying to them.

  • John Bernard Books

    What has got WASSUP’s panties in wad……could it be this?
    “While there is no evidence so far of Trump-Russia collusion, House investigators have turned up enough material to suggest that anti-Trump motives may have driven Mr. Comey’s FBI investigation. The public has a right to know whether the Steele dossier inspired the Comey probe, and whether it led to intrusive government eavesdropping on campaign satellites such as Carter Page.

    All of this reinforces our doubts about Mr. Mueller’s ability to conduct a fair and credible probe of the FBI’s considerable part in the Russia-Trump drama. Mr. Mueller ran the bureau for 12 years and is fast friends with Mr. Comey, whose firing by Mr. Trump triggered his appointment as special counsel. The reluctance to cooperate with a congressional inquiry compounds doubts related to this clear conflict of interest.”

    Are all dems corrupt….

  • John Bernard Books

    We’ve discovered why feminist are so angry…..
    “Congratulations! According to a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, you’re responsible for perpetuating the “hegemonic masculinity” that sustains the Patriarchy and keeps feminists so angry.”

    Its bacon…..

  • John Bernard Books

    Yes the end is near for the democrat party…..and their friends in the republican party
    “The event, hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership – a moderate big-business group – was ostensibly about flood control and the state of the county. But it quickly turned political, devolving into a love-fest between Emmett and Straus, with both heaping praise upon one another (and State Rep. Sarah Davis) while taking jabs at conservative state lawmakers.”

    Judge Emmett once famously said, “republicans need to change their attitude about taxes and abortion.” Then we’d be dems….judge.


    Believe it or not a full day without another celebrity, news anchor or Republican congressman being exposed as a sexual harasser. Is their light at the end of the tunnel (other than an on-coming train)?