Brian Birdwell (copy)

Birdwell

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte, file

State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, called upon U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, to “step aside” after a nude photo of Barton was posted on Twitter last week.

Later Thursday morning, Barton told The Dallas Morning News he will not seek re-election next year.

“I am compelled to speak with regard to recent events,” Birdwell said in a statement. “The conduct of Congressman Joe Barton that has been confirmed — along with new revelations coming to light — is simply unbecoming of representing these counties, citizens and families in the U.S. Congress. I urge him to place the interests of the district first and step aside. Should Congressman Barton seek re-election, I recommend that his constituents dutifully seek other candidates to support as their representative.”

Birdwell shares constituents in Navarro, Ellis and Tarrant Counties with Barton, who is a Waco High School graduate.

Barton has apologized for the photo and said he had sexual relationships with multiple women while he was separated from his second wife, the Texas Tribune first reported.

The photo appeared on an anonymous Twitter account. Some have speculated Barton could be a victim of revenge porn, which is illegal under Texas law.

In 2012 and 2013, while Barton was married to his second wife, he sent explicit Facebook messages to another woman, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Wednesday.

The Washington Post has also reported Barton threatened to call Capitol Police on a woman if she exposed his sex life.

Birdwell has no plans to run for Congress, he said in the statement. State Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, called for Barton’s resignation on Wednesday.

Barton, the longest-serving member of the Texas congressional delegation, said in a statement that his 33 years of service “hopefully (made) life a little better for the people in the 6th District.”

“I am very proud of my public record and the many accomplishments of my office,” the statement said, in part. “It has been a tremendous honor to represent the 6th District of Texas for over three decades, but now it is time to step aside and let there be a new voice.”

Phillip has covered higher education for the Tribune-Herald since November 2015.

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