Virginia Republican Tom Garrett to quit Congress after aide scandal

Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) announced Monday he will not carry on with his 2018 reelection bid so he may cope with an addiction to alcohol.

In an emotional video posted by CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, Garrett struggled to fight back tears, thanked his supporters and explained he was abandoning his reelection bid to address a dependency on alcohol:

“There’s one area where I haven’t been honest.  The tragedy is 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’s decision to not seek reelection ends a week of tumult in which speculation arose he would not run for a second term representing Virginia’s 5th District over misuse of aides and the departure of his chief of staff and fellow staffers.

Following the departure of a top aide, Garrett privately told congressional allies he may not seek reelection, but in a reversal late last week on Facebook, affirmed his intent to return to Congress.

On Friday, a Politico report emerged Garrett and his wife had ordered staff members to perform personal errands, including shopping, retrieving personal items from the couple’s Washington apartment and driving the couple’s daughter around the district.

Garrett denies the allegations.

Despite the charges, Garrett was facing a stiff challenge from his Democratic opponent, journalist Leslie Cockburn.  Cockburn has outraised Garrett, and is believed to have more cash on hand for what was her expected race against the one-term congressman.

Garrett joins over 40 fellow GOP members who are departing the House of Representatives at the end of the current term.

Republicans have two weeks to choose a new nominee and replace Garrett on the ticket.  Virginia’s 5th Congressional District primary is scheduled for June 12.


[Richmond Times-Dispatch] [Politico] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore via News Growl]