Radel: 'Re-election Is the Absolute Last Thing on My Mind'

Image: Radel: 'Re-election Is the Absolute Last Thing on My Mind'

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 07:10 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Rep. Trey Radel returned Tuesday to his Capitol Hill office, where he asked people to forgive him in the wake of his guilty plea for cocaine possession and sought a meeting with House Speaker John Boehner for later in the week.

Asked by reporters if he planned to run for re-election in his southwest Florida-area district this year, the embattled Republican said, according to The Hill, "Re-election is the absolute last thing on my mind."

"I cannot express how sorry I am, I ask for your forgiveness," he said in the lobby of his office.

Politico also reported that Radel, a 37-year-old former radio talk show host serving his first term in office, said he had "let down our entire country, I have let down my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I've let down my family."

Radel returned from spending time at a Florida rehabilitation facility following his guilty plea for cocaine possession.

The congressman, who spent nearly a month in treatment for alcoholism after pleading guilty to cocaine possession in November, has been on a leave of absence while speculation has mounted as to whether he plans to resign or mount a re-election bid.

Some Republicans leaders in Florida have called for him to give up his seat and at least one GOP primary challenger has already emerged, while other potential candidates consider entering the race. So far, Paige Kreegel, a former state legislator who lost to Radel in the 2012 GOP primary, is the only candidate to officially announce his intention to challenge Radel if the congressman refuses to step down, Florida News-Press.com reported Tuesday.

It was unclear from Radel's comments what he plans to say to Boehner when they meet. Up until now, he has said he does not plan to resign, but he is facing a House Ethics Committee investigation of his arrest and guilty plea on cocaine possession.

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