GOP calls grow for Rep. Trey Radel to resign
Update Tuesday: Gov. Rick Scott agrees: Radel should resign.
Lee and Collier County Republicans, as well as the Republican Party of Florida, tonight called on U.S. Rep. Trey Radel to resign, adding to growing demands the lawmaker step down after pleading guilty to a cocaine charge.
Radel's actions "have violated the trust of those whom he was elected to represent and fall short of the standards for an elected official," the county GOP committees said in a statement. It called Radel's "actions clearly disqualify the pursuit of another term and if he should run for re-election, he would not enjoy our support." (see full statement in jump)
RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry said: "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.”
A spokesman told the Naples Daily News that "Congressman Radel's top priority right now is to complete his rehabilitation and then return to work as soon as possible."
But any support Radel had is rapidly eroding as would-be Republican candidates size up a special election.
Radel, who checked into a rehab center last week, pleaded guilty to a cocaine possession charge in a District of Columbia court last Wednesday. He was busted Oct. 29 trying to buy cocaine from an undercover officer. Joint statement from Lee and Collier County Republican Executive Committees:
"The recent revelation of the purchase and use of illicit drugs by Congressman Radel came as a shock and disappointment not only to his constituents, but also to those who call him a friend. His health and the well-being of his family are our utmost concern and we fully support his rehabilitation process. Our prayers are with him on his long road to recovery.
"However, these actions have violated the trust of those whom he was elected to represent and fall short of the standards for an elected official; especially a member of the United States Congress. His actions clearly disqualify the pursuit of another term and if he should run for re-election, he would not enjoy our support.
"While the decision to complete the current term is his alone to make, we strongly encourage him to reflect on his ability to remain effective and that a return to Congress may serve only as an impediment to his recovery. We feel it is in the best interests of all involved that he resign immediately. We hope that he can focus solely on his rehabilitation and allow the citizens to begin their own healing process. We thank Trey for his service and wish only the best for him and his family."