Florida Rep. Trey Radel, the self-described "hip hop conservative" who pled guilty to cocaine possession last week, doesn't want to resign. He says he feels "great" and wants to get back to work as soon as he's done with rehab for his admitted alcohol addiction. The Florida GOP does not agree.
Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said in a statement on Monday night,
"The people of Florida’s 19th Congressional District need a congressman who is 100 percent focused on the needs of Southwest Florida. Therefore, Congressman Radel should step down and focus his attention on rehabilitation and his family."
Update, 12:48 pm: Florida Governor Rick Scott says he agrees with Curry.
Two local GOP county chairmen from Radel's district concurred. But Speaker of the House John Boehner wants to stay out of it. He said last week, "Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts. Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents."
Update, 1:42 pm: Former Rep. Connie Mack is eyeing Radel's seat, Politico reports. Chauncey Goss, who lost to Radel in 2012, is also considering running again should Radel resign.
Radel was only sentenced to one year of probation. In the meantime, he's recovering at a treatment center in Naples. He was seen having cigarettes and coffee with a friend outside the center this morning — according to the Naples Daily News, he was "wearing jeans, a grey shirt and a pair of Aviators." We'll add that he also had on flip flops, the least hip-hop footwear of all time.
"I'm here talking to my buddy," he told reporters. "I feel great. I am here focused on my family and my health. It really is upsetting as I sit here and work on focusing on my family and health with people coming and harassing me."
Florida state Rep. Matt Hudson also called for Radel's resignation. He told the Naples Daily News, "I think it's important for him to get well. This is a person who has legal challenges but more importantly he has some substance abuse issues. Southwest Florida needs someone in Washington who is able to focus entirely on his duties."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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