Republican Rep. Tom Garrett said Monday he would not be seeking re-election this year, making him the 43rd Republican who will not return to Congress. Garrett said in a video that he is an alcoholic and is not running to focus on his family.
"This is because life is about priorities and values, and for the most part, I am proud of mine," Garrett said in the video. "But there is one area where I haven't been honest. The tragedy is any person, Republican, Democrat or Independent, who has known me for any period of times, knows two things: I am a good man and I am an alcoholic. This is the hardest statement I have ever made publicly made, by far. It is also the truth."
Garrett, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said in the video that he is facing attacks that are "half-truths and whole lies, driven more by Republicans than Democrats ... these attacks are not true and I can prove that."
Last week Politico reported on turmoil in Garrett's office, including the abrupt departure of his chief of staff. The story included accounts from anonymous former staffers who alleged Garrett asked aides to carry out an assortment of personal tasks, including caring for his dog and driving his children around Washington.
Garrett, from a Virginia district that includes Charlottesville and Danville, won by 16 points in 2016 and outperformed even President Trump. But Democrats have targeted the district for 2018, and his Democratic challenger, journalist and former "60 Minutes" producer Leslie Cockburn, has out-raised him. Garrett had insisted he was staying in the race as recently as Thursday.