Former opponent: Radel a 'scuzzbag'

A former primary opponent of Rep. Trey Radel's (R-Fla.) is urging the congressman to resign, calling him a "scuzzbag."

Businessman Brian Owens, who ran in the 2012 primary, said he's looking at a run if Radel resigns and sparks a special election in Florida's 19th district, following the Florida Republican's conviction for cocaine possession.

"I'm going to put out some trial balloons and see where my support levels stand. I would entertain running again … if they can convince this guy to get out," he told The Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT
Owens continued: "And he should get out, in my opinion. I've never been a fan of his. I think he's a scuzzbag, frankly."

It's unclear what Radel's next steps will be, but the Florida Democratic Party and at least one other of his former opponents have urged him to resign.

He announced late Wednesday night that he would be taking a leave of absence from Congress to focus on treatment for addiction.

Owens was less eager about launching a primary challenge against Radel in 2014, though he didn't rule it out. At least six of Radel's former primary opponents have expressed interest in primarying him, and former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who held the seat before Radel, is reportedly gauging support for a bid in the heavily Republican district.

Though Owens was reluctant to commit to a primary against the congressman, he had harsh criticism for him.

"I simply don't think this guy knows how to play it straight," he said.

"The whole thing to me is a function of character. I've never really believed that he had the character that he was espousing."