A US congressman says he will not seek re-election after a nude picture of him was posted online by an ex girlfriend.
Joe Barton, a Republican representative for Texas, thanked people for their support.
He said in a statement: ‘I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election in 2018. To the people of the 6th District, thank you for your support and friendship.’
It comes after Barton admitted that he had had sexual relationships ‘with other mature adult women’ before he divorced his second wife in 2015.
He stressed that each relationship was consensual and has since ended.
Barton, 68, told a woman who threatened to release the sexually explicit images, video and messages that he would contact Capitol Police if they emerged.
He said: ‘I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.’
The woman contacted the Washington Post following Barton’s threat to go to police.
She described sexual encounters and contact extending over five years, beginning with her posting of a message on Barton’s Facebook page in 2011.
She also shared with the Post a secretly recorded telephone conversation with Barton in 2015 in which he warned her against using the material ‘in a way that would negatively affect my career’.
The Post reported the woman, who is not married, spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her privacy.
In a statement to the Post, Barton said a transcript of the telephone conversation provided by the newspaper may be ‘evidence’ of a ‘potential crime against me’. He also said that Capitol Police had informed him that they were opening an inquiry.
At the time, Barton’s spokeswoman said that the congressman has no plans to step down, announcing his re-election bid. His district includes several counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Barton was a consultant in the oil and gas industry before he joined the US House in 1985.
He is currently the vice chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce committee. He was the committee’s chairman from 2004 to 2007.
Barton has also been the longtime manager of the GOP congressional baseball team. He was taking part in a team practice in June when a gunman opened fire, injuring another congressman and others.