Rep. Trey Radel will resign from Congress on Monday.
In November Radel pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year’s probation.
A Drug Enforcement Administration official said Radel bought cocaine in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood on Oct. 29. Later that night, federal authorities went to his apartment and informed him that he would be facing criminal charges. The charges were made public Tuesday, and Radel expressed regret in a statement.
The 37-year-old lawmaker said he struggles with alcoholism and will seek treatment and counseling. Radel made no mention of his political future but says he had made an “extremely irresponsible choice” and let down his family and his constituents.
“I want to come out of this stronger,” Radel said in court, later adding that he wants to “continue serving this country.”
The first-term Republican plans to send a letter to Speaker John Boehner Monday, sources said.
The obvious answer as to why Radel is resigning now is to avoid further investigation by the House Committee on Ethics.
Who might run for Radel’s seat? CQ’s Abby Livingston offers a rundown.
- Former state Rep. Paige Kreegel had already filed to challenge Radel, so there’s little doubt about him running.
- Former Rep. Connie Mack ”is being encouraged to run in the event Radel resigns” but would not confirm if Mack would challenge Radel in a primary. Republicans were floating Mack’s name only hours after the news broke of Radel’s arrest. Radel succeeded Mack in Congress after the four-term Republican ran for Senate. Even if Mack does not run, the former congressman will play a consequential role and could dissuade other contenders from getting in the race.
- Government relations consultant Chauncey Goss II (son of Porter Goss, a former occupant of the seat) would not rule out a primary challenge. He lost the 2012 primary to Radel. “It’s way too early to make a decision, and I’m trying to be respectful to him and allow him to sort through things,” Chauncey said in a phone interview. “Southwest Florida deserves excellent representation.”
- State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto is Radel’s “GOP primary nightmare,” according to the Miami Herald.
It’s up to Gov. Rick Scott to schedule a special election for Radel’s seat. His southwest Florida district is solidly Republican — Mitt Romney won the district with 61 percent of the vote.