Radel resigning House seat
WASHINGTON - Beleaguered Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Myers, is resigning his seat, his spokesman said, setting up a special election, the second in Florida this year after the death of C.W. Bill Young in Pinellas County.
Radel's spokesman said the lawmaker would send a resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner. The letter had not yet been released. Politico first reported the news.
Rumors began to pick up over last week that Radel, busted last fall buying cocaine in Washington, would soon step down or announce he would not seek re-election. He had refused previous calls that he resign and returned to work recently after about a month in rehab, vowing to work to regain trust of voters and his colleages.
But Radel, 37, faced extreme odds of hanging on. Radel faced a primary and an Ethics Committee probe.
Already former state Rep. Paige Kreegel had announced his candidacy and others, including State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, have been looking at the race. The seat was held by Connie Mack, who vacated it to run for U.S. Senate. Mack is a possible contender as well.
The race could be fierce. A Super PAC supporting Kreegel has already started negative TV ads against Benacquisto, accusing her of campaigning for the seat while still seeking re-election to the Legislature. Benacquisto had been airing her own TV ads that do not specifically name an office and paint a warm portrait.