Florida GOP to Radel: Go

Florida’s Republic Party on Monday night called on Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) to resign, after he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession last week. 

Florida GOP Chairman Lenny Curry became one of the most prominent Republicans so far to call for Radel to step down. 

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“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.” 

Radel has taken a leave of absence from Congress as he undergoes treatment in Florida. He has made no sign of stepping down.

Shortly after Radel’s conviction last week, the state party would not specifically address whether the congressman should resign. 

“I’m deeply disappointed in Congressman Radel’s choices. I am glad that he is seeking help,” Curry said less than a week ago, when asked if Radel should step down. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has declined to say whether Radel should go.

“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.”

Radel’s father, in a local news report, said Boehner and a group of Republicans had encouraged him not to resign shortly before the charges became public. 

At least six former primary opponents of Radel have expressed interest in running against Radel in 2014 should he decide to remain in his seat. The freshman Republican won Florida’s 19th District with 63 percent of the vote in 2012.

The state’s Democratic Party became one of the first to call for Radel to step aside last week, branding his actions an “embarrassment.”

Radel was caught in an undercover operation by federal agents after agreeing to purchase cocaine at a restaurant in Dupont Cirlce in Washington, D.C.

“Congressman Radel should resign immediately and allow the voters of Florida's 19th Congressional District to elect a Representative that is able to effectively and honorably serve them,” Scott Arceneaux, the executive director of the Florida Democratic Party said in a statement at the time.