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Trey Radel officially resigns from Congress

U.S. Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives Monday morning, leaving a coveted seat in Congress up for grabs.

“Regardless of some personal struggles in 2013, this year has already been tremendously positive as I focus on my health, family and faith,” said Radel in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner. “Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences. While I have dealt with these issues on a personal level, it is my belief professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States representative to the place I love and call home, Southwest Florida.”

Radel’s troubles surfaced at the end of October when he bought 3.5 grams of cocaine from an acquaintance and an undercover agent in Washington’s Dupont Circle. Court documents said Radel gave the undercover officer $250 for the drug outside of a restaurant, and the two got into the officer's vehicle, where the officer gave Radel the cocaine. Federal agents then approached Radel after he left the vehicle, and he dropped the cocaine to the street, according to court documents.

Radel pleaded guilty to the charge in November and was sentenced to a year of probation.

In December, the House Ethics Committee announced it would be launching a formal investigation into the alleged misconduct by Radel.

Initially, Radel said he would only be taking a leave of absence from the House to attend rehab, saying he needed to focus on combating his alcoholism. But the voices calling for the Fort Myers congressman’s resignation grew louder, and soon after Radel entered rehab, his political allies encouraged him to step down.

Radel served Florida’s 19th Congressional District for a year.

A special election will be held to replace Radel in the House, but a date has not yet been set.

To read the complete story visit Sunshine State News.