Breaking: Radel to resign today
posted at 8:34 am on January 27, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Politico reported a few minutes ago that Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) would resign his seat effective today:
Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) will resign from Congress on Monday, according to multiple sources.
The New York Daily News offered a bit more background:
The first term Congressman pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of possession of cocaine in November and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation.
He took a leave of absence from Congress and entered rehab in Florida but returned to Congress in January, after the holiday recess.
Most Republicans wanted him gone after the arrest. Instead, Radel insisted that he would hold his seat after going through rehab. Unless I missed a memo, there hasn’t been any unusual events surrounding his return this month. Perhaps Radel found his welcome back to the caucus chillier than Polar Vortex I or II.
Radel will reportedly offer his resignation in a letter to John Boehner today, who presumably will be delighted to accept it. That will set up a special election in Florida’s 19th CD, which has a Cook rating of R+11. Without Radel as baggage, presumably the GOP can hold this seat in both the special election and especially in the regular election in November, assuming Florida chooses to fill the rest of Radel’s term at all. The resignation won’t impact the balance of power in the House, but it does provide a clean sweep from Radel’s personal scandal for the GOP.
Update: The Washington Post confirms:
But on Monday, Radel’s chief of staff Dave Natonski confirmed to Post Politics that Radel plans to submit a letter explaining his decision to resign. Politico first reported the news.
Radel comes from a heavily conservative district where Mitt Romney won more than six out of 10 votes in 2012. His exit is expected to trigger a competitive GOP primary contest. A former TV news reporter, Radel won 30 percent of the primary vote in a crowded 2012 field.
Former state Rep. Paige Kreegel (R), who won about 18 percent of the vote in the 2012 primary, already filed papers to run. Other possibilities include state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto (R) and former congressman Connie Mack (R).
I’m still not sure what changed Radel’s mind. His return was about as uneventful as he might have hoped. Unless more revelations are on their way, he had a pretty smooth glide path to obscurity in 2014 already.