U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, the Southwest Florida Republican arrested for cocaine possession in Washington in October, apologized to House Republicans on Wednesday to a round of applause according to the Washington Post.
The Post reported that the freshman representative grew emotional as he described the reception in an interview.
“It meant a lot to me,” Radel said, according to the Post. “I just have a lot of work to do.”
House Republicans present at the Republican Conference meeting told the Post many members have had experience with people dealing with addiction and sympathized with Radel.
“We’ve all dealt with friends or families who have struggled with addiction, so we listened and offered encouragement,” the representative said.
Radel spent 30 days in a rehab center in Naples after his sentencing in November to a year’s probation and a $250 fine.
Radel might have received sympathy from his GOP colleagues in the Capitol, but his support in the party back home is shaky. After his conviction the Republican Party of Florida called for his resignation, as did Gov. Rick Scott.
The Republican executive committees of Collier and Lee counties also issued statements saying they would not support Radel if he chose to run for a second term.
On Tuesday, former state Rep. Paige Kreegel announced he will challenge Radel in this year’s Republican primary if Radel decides to seek a second term, and state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, is considered a possible candidate for the seat.
Radel, who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, has not announced his plans for the fall.
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