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Trump's former drug czar nominee to retire from Congress this month

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pennsylvania, announced he would step down from Congress at the end of January, ensuring a special election in the swing state in coming months.

"Having spent over two decades serving the public, I have chosen to take a position in the private sector where I can use both my legal and business experience to create jobs around the nation," Marino said in a statement.

Marino made national news in 2017 when he was nominated by President Trump to direct the country's drug control policy. He withdrew from consideration after a Washington Post/"60 Minutes" report found he helped steer legislation which weakened the Drug Enforcement Administration's power to go after drug distributors.

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pennsylvania, talks with Andrew Wilkow during an episode of The Wilkow Majority on SiriusXM Patriot at Quicken Loans Arena on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pennsylvania, seen July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. Getty

Marino represents a solidly Republican district in central and north Pennsylvania. He was elected to the 10th Congressional District in 2010, which was redistricted this year to the 12th Congressional District drawn by a panel of judges last year.

Marino said Thursday he will be stepping down effective Jan. 23 to join the private sector. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has ten days to call a special election after Marino retires. The election must be held within 60 days of Marino's departure.

Although Marino represents a conservative region, the district may be in play for Democrats. Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb was unexpectedly elected in a special election in spring 2018, and retained his seat in November.

Marino's departure will leave Republicans with 198 seats in the House.