After cocaine bust, Radel may face a primary

Rep. Trey Radel's (R-Fla.) conviction for cocaine possession has opened him up to a probable primary challenge — potentially from some familiar faces.

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At least four of the Republicans who Radel bested in a 2012 primary told The Hill on Wednesday that they were open to running for Radel's seat, either in a special election to replace him if he's forced to resign, or against him in a 2014 primary. Another former opponent confirmed to a local paper that he's open to a run.

"If he has any kind of honor he'll step down because he has a problem," said local business owner Timothy John Rossano, who vied for Radel's seat in 2012. "You can't be a congressman and a coke addict at the same time."

Rossano said he'd launch a primary challenge against Radel if "the timing was right," but if the congressman does resign, he'll likely jump in the special election for his seat.

"I'm highly disappointed in the freshman congressman for just being ignorant," he said. "He's a congressman — people would give their left hand to be a congressman, and he blows it by getting involved in substance abuse, which, hey, everyone does in their life but — hey — he's a grown man and that kind of thing is for kids."

Another former primary opponent, Byron Donalds, who manages investment portfolios, told The Hill that while it was too soon to make a decision, he was keeping his options open.

"You really have to consider all options in these things," he said.

Donalds said he has been contacted by supporters in the 24 hours since the news broke of Radel's arrest on Oct. 29.

Though he stopped short of criticizing Radel for his cocaine use, Donalds did say that he felt it would make it difficult for the congressman to do his job in the future.

Another primary candidate, attorney Joseph Davidow, was reluctant to express an interest in the race — but didn't rule the option out.

"I don't know," he told The Hill when asked whether he was interested in running for Radel's seat. "I'm just kind of letting the dust settle."

"I'm going to remain involved in politics as long as warm blood is coursing through my veins, but that doesn't mean i'm just going to jump in the race,
 he added.

Two other former primary opponents, Chauncey Goss and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, confirmed they're open to running for the seat.

Kreegel told the Miami Herald on Wednesday that he's "not opposed" to challenging Radel, if he doesn't have the "decency to leave office."

The GOP primary for Florida's 19th district in 2012 was unusually large, with at one point 11 Republicans registering to run, according to news reports. Radel won the nomination and went on to easily take former Rep. Connie Mack's (R-Fla.) seat in the general.

The Florida Democratic Party has called on Radel to resign in light of his conviction.

--This piece was updated at 4:53 p.m.