The congressional career of Trey Radel (R-Fla.) lasted just one year but it sure was memorable. That’s what happens when you’re a conservative Republican and you get arrested for purchasing 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover cop not long after voting for a bill that would allow states to test people on food stamps for drugs. Funny how that happens.
Radel, who in 2012 won the 19th Congressional District seat vacated by GOP Senate candidate Connie Mack IV, clearly wanted, and may have expected, to hold on to his job. He immediately pleaded guilty, he spent a month in rehabilitation, he expressed contrition. But it didn’t work; Florida Gov. Rick Scott and state GOP chair Lenny Curry called for his resignation, and many in the party wished he would just go away.
On Monday (1/27) he resigned.
Scott will call for a special election, but unlike the March 11 special in Fla.’s 13th CD to replace the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R), this seat will assuredly stay in Republican hands. Radel won it with 62% in 2012, and Mack only once dipped below 64% in his four victories. Mack had considered trying to win his seat back but announced on Tuesday that he would not, citing family and business considerations.
But there is not expected to be a shortage of candidates. Former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, who finished third to Radel in the 2012 GOP primary, is already running. Chauncey Goss, who also ran in that primary and who is the son of Mack predecessor Porter Goss, is also considering a candidacy. Local reports suggest that the strongest candidate, should she run, would be state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto.
The seat has been in Republican hands since it was created in 1972.