Republican congressman Thomas Garrett won’t seek re-election after revealing need to treatment for alcoholism
Garrett, 46, made announcement in a video recorded at State Capitol in Virginia
Before being elected to Congress, Garrett was a prosecutor and state senator
The first time congressman stepped aside amidst a damaging media expose on mistreatment of his staff and flagging fund raising
He denies rumors of stepping down to avoid losing his seat to a Democratic challenger Leslie Cockburn in Virginia’s conservative 5th district
Cockburn, a former 60 Minutes reporter, is running for elected office for the first time
Rep. Thomas Garrett [R-Va], announced Monday that he will no longer seek re-election, citing the need to work on recovering from alcoholism and renewing his commitment to his family
First time Republican Congressman Thomas Garrett of Virginia announced Monday that he will no longer seek re-election, saying he needs to work on recovering from alcoholism and renewing his commitment to his family.
Garrett, 46, made the announcement in a video recorded at the state Capitol in Richmond.
‘Any person – Republican, Democrat or Independent – who’s known me for any period of time and has any integrity, knows two things: I am a good man and I am an alcoholic,’ Garrett said.
‘This is the hardest statement that I have ever publicly made, by far.’
A former prosecutor and state senator, Garrett is a libertarian-leaning conservative who advocated for looser marijuana laws and was a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
His decision to resign came abruptly.
Rep Tom Garrett announced his retirement after a Politico expose on alleged mistreatment of staff by the congressman and his wife. The report cited four ex staffers accusing Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett and his wife of turning his congressional staff into personal servants. Multiple former employees allegedly accused the freshman Republican of assigning them tasks from grocery shopping to fetching the congressman’s clothes to caring for their pet dog, all during work hours.
Last week he held a long, rambling news conference to deny reports he was thinking of dropping his bid for a second term. While Garrett’s tepid fundraising had worried members of his party, he maintains that his decision not to seek a second term was not motivated by fear of losing his seat: ‘sometimes winning means knowing where your priorities should be,’ Garrett said.
Garrett [left] has been accused of stepping down to avoid defeat by Democrat Leslie Cockburn [right], a former reporter for 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair, who is running for office for the first timeSticking it to the opposition: Cockburn wished her former opponent well
‘This isn’t an ending for me, or my values of service to my fellow man, it’s just a new beginning,’ Garrett said.
Garrett was up against Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a former reporter for 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair who has never run for office before, for Virginia’s reliably Republican 5th district, which runs from Fauquier County in the north, west to Shenandoah Valley and through Appomattox to Southside Virginia along the North Carolina border.
Garret’s personal woes may have just cracked the door for Democratic primary winner, and first-time political office seeker Leslie Cockburn [photo], in a traditionally conservative congressional district
She has said her opposition to President Donald Trump helped spur her run.
Republican Party officials in the 5th District will pick a replacement candidate in coming days.
Trump won the district by 11 percentage points and several Republicans could jockey to replace Garrett on the ballot.
Garrett joins a long list of Republican lawmakers who are retiring instead of seeking re-election, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Meanwhile Denver Riggleman has announced his intention to become the replacement GOP nominee for the central Virginia seat held by Rep. Tom Garrett.
Denver Riggleman [center], has signaled his intention to replace retiring Rep. Tom Garrett, in the November midterm elections
Hours after Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) made the surprise announcement that he will not seek reelection in Virginia’s district 5 , potential candidates began jockeying to replace him and one officially entered the race.
Denver Riggleman, a former Air Force intelligence officer and distillery owner who ran a short-lived campaign as a populist Republican candidate for the governor’s mansion last year, said he is seeking the party’s nomination to help pass President Trump’s agenda in Congress: “It takes a real outsider with real world experience to drag the swamp monsters to dry land”.
“As a veteran and small business owner, I am perfectly suited for that task,” Riggleman said in a statement.
Members of the Republican Party’s 5th District committee will choose a nominee to face Democrat Leslie Cockburn in November. Riggleman is just the first of several likely candidates, to publicly confirm he will run after Garrett announced his struggle with alcoholism.
Other potential candidates, include four from the State’s General Assembly – Senators William M. Stanley Jr., Jill Holtzman Vogel, Bryce E. Reeves and Del. Robert B. Bell. Tech executive Michael Del Rosso and businessman Jim McKelvey are regarded as possible contenders, as well.
Although the district includes liberal enclaves, such as Charlottesville, most voters there are conservative and backed Trump by 11 points.