|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 3rd district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Sam Johnson|
|Member of the Texas Senate|
from the 8th district
January 13, 2015 – January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Ken Paxton|
|Succeeded by||Angela Paxton|
|Member of the Texas House of Representatives|
from the 66th district
April 20, 2010 – January 13, 2015
|Preceded by||Brian McCall|
|Succeeded by||Matt Shaheen|
Nicholas Van Campen Taylor
August 1, 1972
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Education||Harvard University (BA, MBA)|
|Branch/service||United States Marine Corps|
Nicholas Van Campen Taylor (born August 1, 1972), known as Van Taylor, is an American businessman and Republican politician from Plano, Texas. He is the U.S. representative for Texas's 3rd congressional district.
The district includes much of Collin County, a suburban county north of Dallas. A veteran of the Iraq War he represented the 8th district in the Texas Senate from 2015 to 2019. He also previously served in the Texas House of Representatives for the 66th district in southwestern Collin County. On March 2, 2022, Taylor admitted to an extramarital affair and announced that he would suspend his reelection campaign and retire at the end of the 117th Congress.
Early life, education, and career
A seventh-generation Texan, Taylor was born in Dallas. He is a descendant of Humble Oil co-founder Robert Lee Blaffer. He grew up in Midland, Texas, where he attended the Hillander School and San Jacinto Junior High School. He graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. With numerous AP credits, he subsequently graduated in three years from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from which he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in history. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 2001.
From January 2002 to December 2018, Taylor worked for Churchill Capital Company, a real estate investment banking and principal investment firm, as a real estate investment banker. He previously worked for McKinsey & Company and Trammell Crow Company.
In Iraq, Taylor was assigned to the Marine Corps' Company C, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion and fought with 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company. As a captain, Taylor led missions in advance of Task Force Tarawa during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which detected and defeated several Fedayeen ambushes. He also participated in a casualty evacuation of 31 wounded Marines, transporting them safely to medical treatment.
2006 campaign for U.S. House
In 2005 and 2006, Taylor ran for Texas's 17th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He won the Republican primary with 54.03% of the vote. With 40.31% of the vote in the general election, he lost to incumbent Democrat Chet Edwards.
Texas House of Representatives
On December 2, 2009, Taylor announced his candidacy for the District 66 Texas State House seat. Plano city council member Mabrie Jackson had already resigned from the council to enter the House race. On November 30, 2009, incumbent representative Brian McCall announced that he would not run for reelection. Observers speculated that McCall had told Jackson that he would step down so that she could get a head start in the campaign. McCall also endorsed Jackson as his successor.
The candidates in the March 2 Republican primary were Wayne Richards, Jackson, and Taylor. While Jackson earned the largest number of votes (41%) in the primary, she was shy of the 50% plus one vote required to win the nomination outright. Richards promptly endorsed Taylor, who then defeated Jackson in the April run-off election. McCall left the House seat early, and Taylor was sworn into office on April 20, 2010, by Collin County Judge Keith Self.
Texas State Senate
On August 2, 2013, Taylor announced he would seek the Republican Party's 2014 nomination for the Texas Senate, District 8 seat held by Ken Paxton, who was stepping down to run for state attorney general.
In 2017, Taylor introduced legislation to establish a registry of individuals who have been barred from employment at an educational facility. The measure, if adopted, would prevent any school employee, not just administration and faculty, from working at a school if the person is found to have engaged in an improper relationship with a student.
U.S. House of Representatives
In August 2017, Taylor announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives for Texas's 3rd congressional district. Incumbent 13-term Republican Sam Johnson had announced his retirement. Taylor was endorsed by the Club for Growth, a national conservative group, and With Honor, a cross-partisan political group supporting next-generation military veterans. Taylor secured the nomination after easily winning the March 6 primary. He won the November 6 general election with 54.3% of the vote.
Taylor's victory continued a run of Republican control in one of the first areas of Texas to turn Republican. The GOP has held the seat without interruption since a 1968 special election, and Taylor is only the fourth person to represent it since then. At the same time, it was the closest race in the district in over half a century; indeed, it was the first time since the regular 1968 election that a Democrat had crossed the 40% mark.
Taylor was unopposed in the 2020 Republican primary. In the general election, he faced Democrat Lulu Seikaly. Some observers considered him potentially vulnerable due to the district's demographic changes and its high population of college-educated voters, who had been trending away from the GOP in recent years. Taylor was reelected by over 12 percentage points even as President Donald Trump carried the district by only 1.
On May 19, 2021, Taylor was one of 35 Republicans to join all Democrats in voting for legislation to establish the January 6 commission meant to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol. During his 2022 reelection campaign, this vote became a focal point for conservative critics and his opponents in the Republican primary, despite Taylor's conservative voting record on other issues.
2022 campaign and allegations of infidelity
On February 27, 2022, two days before the Republican primary, right-wing media outlet National File posted an interview with Tania Joya, a British woman then living in Plano, who claimed that she and Taylor had a nine-month sexual affair in 2020 and 2021. Joya is the widow of John Georgelas, an American who gained notoriety for joining the Islamic State (commonly known as ISIS) in 2013, and has been dubbed the "ISIS bride" by the British tabloid press.
Claiming that she and Taylor met during a "reprogramming" session for former jihadists, Joya shared salacious details about the affair and said that Taylor had given her $5,000 for her credit card bills and personal expenses. Her allegations were repeated the next day by Breitbart News and circulated widely on social media. The Texas Tribune could not independently verify any of Joya's claims. In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, Joya said that she was "annoyed at having to see her ex-lover's face on billboards" and approached Taylor's Republican primary opponent Suzanne Harp, hoping that Harp would privately persuade Taylor to drop out of the race, but Taylor did not do so, prompting Joya to make the allegations public.
On March 1, 2022, Taylor won 49% of the vote in the Republican primary, just short of the 50% cutoff to win the election outright, triggering a May 24 runoff election against runner-up and former Collin County judge Keith Self. The next day, in an email to supporters, Taylor announced the suspension of his reelection campaign: "About a year ago, I made a horrible mistake that has caused deep hurt and pain among those I love most in this world. I had an affair, it was wrong, and it was the greatest failure of my life. I want to apologize for the pain I have caused with my indiscretion, most of all to my wife Anne and our three daughters." Taylor is expected to serve the remainder of his current term, but a campaign spokesperson said that Taylor would withdraw from the congressional race. Taylor formally withdrew from the runoff two days later, making Self the Republican nominee by default.
|Independent||Jeff Simons (write-in)||153||0.1|
|Republican||Van Taylor (incumbent)||230,512||55.1|
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Joya said she didn't intend to inject herself into the election and didn't even realize the primary was five days away when she contacted Harp. She was just annoyed at having to see her ex-lover's face on billboards as she drove around Plano. "All I wanted was for Suzanne Harp to just say, 'Hey, I know your little scandal with Tania Joya. Would you like to resign before we embarrass you?' But it didn't happen like that," Joya told The News.
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