GOP Congressman Trey Radel to resign

After a short return following rehab, the freshman Tea Party congressman is calling it quits

Published January 27, 2014 2:50PM (EST)

Florida Rep. Trey Radel, who first rose to national prominence during the fall of 2013, when he was charged with cocaine possession, will reportedly resign his congressional seat on Monday, rather than finish out his term as he had previously said he intended to do.

The man who once billed himself as a "hip-hop conservative" is expected to send Speaker of the House John Boehner his resignation letter sometime on Monday. Radel hails from a very Republican district, however, so his leaving the stage is unlikely to affect the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives.

That doesn't mean there won't be a fight to replace Radel, however. While Florida Gov. Rick Scott has not yet announced when the special election for Radel's seat will be held, Politico reports that there's already a significant number of politicians who are at least considering a run to be Radel's congressional successor.

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The race for Radel’s seat had begun even before he decided to resign. Republican Paige Kreegel, a former state representative, has already launched a campaign for the 19th district. Kreegel, who finished third to Radel in a 2012 primary, has drawn the support of a super PAC, which has raised $1 million with the intention of helping him win the seat.

Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Republican leader in the Florida Senate in Tallahassee, is widely expected to run for the seat. Former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who held the seat before Radel, has also mulled a run.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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