Radel rejects calls from Fla. GOP to resign

Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) on Tuesday rejected calls for him to resign over his conviction on a drug charge.

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"Congressman Radel's top priority right now is to complete his rehabilitation and then return to work as soon as possible," a representative said.

Radel pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession last week and was sentenced to one year of probation.

On Monday night, Florida GOP Chairman Lenny Curry became the most high-profile Republican to call for Radel to step down.

“The people of Florida’s 19th Congressional District need a congressman who is 100 percent focused on the needs of Southwestern Florida,” Curry said in a statement. “Therefore, Congressman Radel should step down and focus his attention on rehabilitation and his family.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said he agreed with Curry on Tuesday. Two other county chairmen in Radel’s 19th District made similar statements.

Radel has apologized for the incident and blamed it on an addiction to alcohol. At a press conference last week, he said he would take a leave of absence from Congress in order to undergo treatment in Florida.

“I hate the word constituents. What this is about is my friends, my family and my neighbors,” Radel said last week. “I hope, like family, southwest Florida can forgive me for this.”

Two Republicans who spoke to the Miami Herald Monday night said Radel had reached out to a number of Republicans from his rehabilitation facility about staying in office.

Republicans in Congress have declined to say whether Radel should go. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said last week it is an issue left up to Radel, his family and his constituents.

“As you all know, I believe that members of Congress should be held to the highest ethical standards,” Boehner said last week. “I think at this point, Mr. Radel — the issue is between he, his family and his constituents.”

— This story was updated at 10:46 a.m.

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