Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, reportedly exchanged sexually charged Facebook messages with a woman from Texas in 2012 and 2013, revelations that come a week after Barton apologized for a nude photo of him that was posted on social media.
Kelly Canon, of Arlington, Texas, shared the messages with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and said the two had been talking for several years on Facebook Messenger. The correspondence focused mainly on politics, but some were sexually suggestive.
Barton confirmed to the newspaper he exchanged the messages with Canon, who is heavily involved in Republican politics, serving as a Tarrant County Republican precinct chair, on the board of the Arlington Republican Club, and as a member of the Republican Women of Arlington.
“I will affirm I did have that exchange, but nothing more,” Barton told the Star-Telegram in a text message.
In one message to Canon, sent after midnight June 13, 2012, Barton asked whether she was “wearing a tank top only … and no panties?” The congressman then followed-up, asking “right now?”
Canon replied, saying “Ok, that’s enough. You know my attire! Good night …..”
“answer me miss evasive,” Barton responded.
Several days later, on June 18, 2012, Barton asked Canon to “tell me what u r wearing or not wearing tonight miss sweet dreams.”
Canon told the Texas congressman she was “still in my ‘regular’ clothes!”
More than one year later, on Oct. 2, 2012, Barton told Canon in a Facebook message that “men are men…and u r definitely a sexy woman.”
Canon told Barton in response that “all the good ones are married.”
“I don’t know about good..but I am married,” the congressman replied.
Canon told Barton he was “one of the ‘good’ ones, then!” and the Texas Republican thanked her for her compliment.
He then told her “but …I am not thinking good thoughts at this moment…blush.”
Canon and Barton’s exchanges occurred while the congressman was still married to his second wife, Terri, who he divorced in February 2015.
Barton came under scrutiny last week when a graphic photo of a naked man resembling him was shared on social media.
Barton apologized for the photo and said he had “sexual relationships with other mature adult women” while he was separated from his second wife.
The congressman is running for re-election next year, but signaled in an interview with the Texas Tribune last week he may be reconsidering political future in the wake of the photo.
Revelations about the messages he exchanged with Canon will likely add to speculation about whether he will — and whether Republican leaders want him to — seek re-election.
Republican leaders in Tarrant County reportedly asked Barton not to run next year during a meeting Monday and Tim O’Hare, chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party, said many Texas Republicans don’t believe he should.
“Since Mr. Barton’s highly-publicized issues have come to light, I have talked to numerous Republican activists, leaders, voters and elected officials about this situation — not a single one of them thinks he should run again,” O’Hare said in a statement. “I personally hope he learns from this and tries to be a better father and man.”