Rep. Radel: "I feel great" except for people "harassing me"

Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., will resign Monday, CBS News has learned. CBS News

Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., facing calls to resign from Florida's governor and the state's GOP chairman after pleading guilty to cocaine possession, talked to reporters Tuesday from his rehab facility in Naples, Fla.

"I feel great. I am here focused on my family and my health," Radel told the Naples Daily News.

"It really is upsetting," he added, "As I sit here and work on focusing on my family and health with people coming and harassing me."

When asked for more details, Radel responded, "I'll just leave it at that."

Radel's comments come on the day Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., seconded the chairman of the Florida Republican Party's call for Radel's resignation, saying the congressman should focus on his rehab.

"The people of Florida's 19th Congressional District need a Congressman who is 100 percent focused on the needs of Southwest Florida," Lenny Curry, the state GOP chairman, said in a news release Monday. "Therefore, Congressman Radel should step down and focus his attention on rehabilitation and his family."

The News-Press reports that Scott told reporters Tuesday morning, "I agree with the party chairman.” 

“Trey is going through a tough time. My prayers and my wife's prayers are with his family. But we have to hold all of our elected officials to the highest standards,” Scott said.

Radel and his aides have said that he has no plans to resign and will return to Congress after he completes his rehab. Curry is the first prominent Republican to call for Radel's resignation; his colleagues in Congress have so far declined to demand he step down.

Last week, Radel

pleaded guilty to cocaine possession last week, admitting he agreed to buy $250 worth of cocaine from an undercover officer in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29.  He avoided jail time but was sentenced to a year's probation.

Though he's not stepping down, there are reports that some of his fellow Republicans are considering running against him in next August's primary.

Former Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., who held the seat before losing a U.S. Senate race last November, is showing interest in running, reports Politico.  Lizbeth Benacquisto, the top Republican in the Florida state Senate, is also being named as a potential candidate.




  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBSNews.com's Executive Editor, Washington.

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