Florida GOP lawmaker who opposed Boehner will retire
© Greg Nash

Rep. Richard Nugent, a Florida Republican who was one of the earliest targets of retribution from former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this year, announced Monday that he won't seek reelection.

Nugent cited a desire to spend more time with his family as a chief factor in his decision to retire at the end of 2016.

“After five years of living out of a suitcase, saying goodbye almost weekly to my beloved wife, and seeing pictures of the grandkids instead of spending more of that quality time with them, the tug of being apart from family has just become too great,” Nugent said in a statement.

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Hours after Nugent announced his impending retirement, his former chief of staff, Justin Grabelle, said he will run for the seat.

Grabelle has served as chief of staff since Nugent took office in 2011. Before that, Grabelle worked as a top aide to Nugent's predecessor, former Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.).
 
Nugent is a former Hernando County sheriff who created national headlines in January after he was unceremoniously booted off the powerful House Rules Committee for voting against Boehner for Speaker.

Majority-party members of the Rules Committee, which controls how legislation is considered on the House floor, are handpicked by the Speaker and expected to demonstrate loyalty. Within hours after his vote against Boehner on the floor, Nugent and fellow Florida Republican Daniel Webster were removed from the panel.

Nugent said he had misgivings about the constant travel required while serving as a member of Congress from the start of his tenure in 2011. And despite reassurances he'd get used to it, Nugent said his experience didn't improve over time.

"As I remarked to a colleague during one of my first months in Congress, ‘It feels like I’ve spent more time away from my wife in the last three weeks than I have in the last 30 years.’ Sensing how unhappy I was about it, my colleague tried to assure me that it would get easier with time. In reality, the opposite was true," Nugent said.

He will vacate a seat in what is considered to be a safe Republican district in next year's elections.

Nugent is the 10th House member to announce they will not seek reelection in 2016. He supported Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) during the vote last Thursday to replace Boehner, who is now no longer a member of the House.

This story was corrected at 5:50 p.m. to reflect that Grabelle is Nugent's former chief of staff.