Embattled Congressman Trey Radel says he’s not stepping down. The Fort Myers Republican held a press conference in Cape Coral after leaving rehab Thursday night.
Radel plead guilty to cocaine possession about a month ago. He gave a prepared statement to reporters saying he’s going to return to Congress after his stint in rehab-- despite calls from Florida Republican leaders asking him to resign. Radel was sentenced to one year probation last month after he was caught buying cocaine during a federal sting operation. A statement from federal officials said Radel had been purchasing cocaine during his first year in office.
When asked about whether he had a problem with cocaine abuse, he said alcoholism was his real problem and the reason he entered rehab. Radel told reporters he was only a casual cocaine user.
“I am not going to sit here and get into a reporters log of all of my life, but it’s been a handful of times and like many others in college I experimented with drugs,” he said. The night Radel was busted by federal officials, he also handed over cocaine he had in his house at the time.
When asked if he was going to run for his seat in Congress again next year, Radel said he wasn’t thinking about re-election.
“Elections, politics, political figures are all the last thing in my mind right now and I don’t have a time frame for when I will decide,” he said.
Area politicians such as Chauncey Goss, state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto and even former-Congressman Connie Mack have been touted as possible primary challengers to Radel come next November.