Politico reports Representative Trey Radel (R., Fla.) is resigning. Once one of the GOP’s rising stars, Radel was arrested for possession of cocaine on October 29 and convicted in November. He announced he would take a leave of absence from Congress for addiction treatment.
Florida law appears to require a special election, with the dates to be set up by Governor Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
Nominees of political parties shall be chosen under the primary laws of this state in the special primary election to become candidates in the special election. Prior to setting the special election dates, the Governor shall consider any upcoming elections in the jurisdiction where the special election will be held.
Florida’s congressional primary is not until August 26.
Florida’s 19th congressional district scores an R+12 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index, so Radel’s resignation doesn’t really give Democrats that much of a pickup opportunity. The district, on Florida’s west coast south of Tampa, includes Cape Coral and Naples.
One Democrat, April Freeman, has already declared a bid; the odds would probably be better against a post-scandal Radel than any other Republican. A quartet of Republicans had begun primary challenges to Radel: Curtis J. “Curt” Clawson, Mike Giallombardo, Brian Wayne Gibens, and former state Representative Paige Vanier Kreegel. In the 2012 five-way Republican primary, Radel won 30 percent; Kreegel won 17.7 percent.