Rep. Trey Radel (R-Florida)
(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)
A Florida Congressman who was arrested on drug charges last year is stepping down.
U.S. Rep Trey Radel (FL-19) sent resignation letters House Speaker John Boehner, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner. The freshman Republican said his resignation was effective as of 6:30 p.m. Monday.
READ: Trey Radel's resignation letter (PDF)
Politico first reported the upcoming resignation, which was confirmed by Radel's chief of staff, Dave Natonski.
"Unfortunately, some of my struggles have serious consequences," Radel said in his letter to Speaker Boehner. "While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I love and call home, Southwest Florida."
Late last year, Radel was arrested for buying cocaine from an undercover officer in Washington DC. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation.
READ: Rep. Radel's plea agreement (PDF)
Several GOP leaders had asked him to resign. But Radel had pledged to stay in office and rebuild constituents' trust after completing in-patient treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
Radel had been in office for 10 months when charged. His district includes the Gulf Coast cities of Fort Myers and Naples.
The House Ethics Committee had said in December it would launch an
investigation into whether Radel had broken congressional rules or broke
other laws. Once he leaves Congress, the committee loses jurisdiction
over his case.
A spokesperson for Governor Rick Scott tells WINK News that a date will be set for a special election.
A number of potential Republican candidates had
already been eyeing the 19th Congressional District seat, including
state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and Chauncey Goss, who
was the runner-up in last year's primary.
Former Rep. Connie Mack,
who preceded Radel in Congress, had been considering running but only
if Radel did not seek re-election.
USA TODAY and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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