Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) is getting an unwelcome gift on his first day back on Capitol Hill -- a GOP primary challenger.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that former state Rep. Paige Kreegel (R) is officially kicking off his campaign on Tuesday against Radel, who pled guilty to cocaine possession in November and entered drug rehab.
In a campaign statement, Kreegel said that voters deserved a "congressman without distractions, a congressman they can trust" and that the district "deserves serious, sober representation" to deal with the issues facing Congress.
Since Radel's arrest in D.C. on drug charges, the freshman congressman has rebuffed pressure to resign -- but that doesn't mean he won't be highly vulnerable in the state's August 26 primary. Radel still faces possible congressional ethics charges, and to repair his image he's said he's returning to his faith and relying on his recovery program.
Kreegel may be the first to officially oppose Radel, but he's likely to be far from the last. Former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who previously represented the district but left to for a failed 2012 bid for Senate, is interested, as is state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R), who has already been running TV ads to boost her profile.