WASHINGTON (AP) - Texas Rep. Joe Barton has announced he will retire, after a nude photo of him circulated online and it was revealed he had exchanged sexually charged messages with a supporter.
The announcement Thursday by the veteran Republican came after a Texas newspaper revealed the Facebook conversations Barton had with tea party activist Kelly Canon in which Barton sometimes steered the chats to inappropriate topics, such as asking if she was wearing panties. Barton apologized last week after the photo circulated.
Barton didn't mention the scandal in announcing his retirement. He said he is proud of his service, but "now it is time to step aside and let there be a new voice."
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