Given now Rep. Trey Radel is in the national spotlight over cocaine possession, the first of any sitting member of Congress in decades, the question remains: What happens now?
Here's Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry and House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman on the matter:
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said the allegations are a matter for the courts, and Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry said he was disappointed in Radel but glad that he is seeking help.However, Radel's Democratic Challenger in 2014, April Freeman, is not playing nice like the GOP is regarding Radel:
“Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family and his constituents,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.
"While I am sympathetic to Rep. Radel regarding his personal issues and I hope he finds a personal solution, the fact is that he has proven himself incapable of properly representing Southwest Florida and the people of the 19th Congressional District apologies are insufficient," Democratic Challenger April Freeman said. "The honor of representing Southwest Floridians in Congress is a sacred trust and a heavy responsibility and Trey Radel has proven himself unworthy of the trust and incapable of bearing the responsibility. This event is not just Rep. Radel's personal failure - it fundamentally hurts the people and the economy of Southwest Florida. The time has clearly come to elect a new congressperson for Southwest Florida. Change is imperative."
There was a previous discussion on the Daily Kos Elections Digest which put into context the fact that Trey Radel is now facing controversy like Anthony Weiner dealt with earlier this year when he was running for the New York Mayoral Race.
Here's a comparison of both:
Whereas Anthony Weiner's 2nd sexting scandal was morally wrong, Trey Radel's involvement with cocaine was illegal. Even worse, Radel was set up by an undercover officer.
Problem is, if Congressman Radel stays on the job well into 2014, he may be facing an even worse dilemma than the previous Florida Congressmen who have been hit with scandals of their own:
There's former Rep. Mark Foley, who served from 1995-2006. He sent sexually suggestive e-mails and instant messages to underage males who during the time were serving as Congressional pages.
Then there's former Rep. Tim Mahoney, who coincidentally took over Foley's seat in 2006 but then was hit with a scandal of his own where he paid money to a former staffer who was seeking a lawsuit against him. Mahoney ended up having an extramarital affair.
While these cases and Radel's case are certainly a few of the number of cases affecting political officeholders, it appears that Florida may be taking the cake as being the state affected most by scandals. Radel's situation may actually dog him in 2014, even if he happens to occupy Florida's 19th Congressional District, which has a PVI of R+12 and is solidly Republican.
Still, the problem Congressman Radel faces with the cocaine charge and pleading guilty to the charge will most definitely provide ammunition for April Freeman's campaign as she works to shore up support from Democrats in FL-19 and outside.
And it seems Freeman already has support building. For starters, she's endorsed by Democrats Advancing Progressive Action in Congress (DAPAC). Here's some insight on the group and what it may lead to Freeman's campaign, particularly now that Radel's duties in Congress are put on hold.
A Game Changing National Endorsement has come through for April Freeman's run at the U.S. House of Representative's seat in Florida's 19th District against incumbent Trey Radel.However, it should also be noted that Freeman is running in a heavily Republican district so while plenty of other Congressional races as cited in DAPAC's endorsement of Freeman's campaign, any involvement of DAPAC should not be a guarantee that Freeman will get elected in 2014.
Democrats Advancing Progressive Action in Congress aka DAPAC started in 2000 and targets the most promising Congressional districts in the nation, using the most up to date electoral and demographic data available focusing primarily on helping progressives in swing districts that have Republican incumbents. They typically assist about a dozen progressive candidates every election cycle and are the only group in the country that helps Progressive Democrat candidates with every aspect of their campaign. As a consequence, they have a very high success rate in actually unseating the incumbent Republican and getting progressive Democrats elected to Congress.
DAPAC was the driving force behind United States Senator Martin Heinrich of NM and United States Representatives; Alan Grayson FL-08, Michelle Lujan Grisham, MN-01, Bruce Braley IA-1, Joe Courtney CT-1, Martin Heinrich NM-1, Jim Hines CT-4, Paul Hodes NH-2, Mary Jo Kilroy OH-15, Gary Peters MI-9, Chellie Pingree ME-1, Jared Polis CO-2, Allyson Schwarts PA-13, Joe Sestak PA-7, John Yarmouth KY-3. Most recently, DAPAC was involved in the campaign of Elizabeth Colbert-Bush.
After all, as Naples News points out, DAPAC was involved in Elizabeth Colbert-Busch's campaign in the recent special election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District this past May and Colbert-Busch lost. She did of course win 45% of the votes though. Interestingly enough, Sanford's SC-01 Congressional District is R+11 and Solid Republican so pretty much the same makeup as FL-19.
Here are issues Freeman is fighting for that should give you a confirmation she's a rock-solid progressive, even if you've got nothing to lose in the FL-19 District race in 2014:
FULL EQUALITYIf you are looking to get involved in April Freeman's campaign, the links are below:
Supporting Working Families with Fair Wages & Benefits
Support Union Organizing Rights
Protecting Your Right to Vote
Campaign Finance Reform
Women’s Reproductive Rights
Ending Violence Against Women
Ending the Wars & Bringing Our Troops Home
Climate Change Crisis
Clean Renewable Energy
Reducing Gun Violence
Improving Public Education Programs
Early Mental Health Screenings
Refining the War on Drugs
Protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
Protecting American's with Disabilities
Stopping Animal Cruelty
Native American Issues
Meaningful Filibuster Reform
Giving Immediate Attention to:
THE LAKE OKEECHOBEE RELEASES
OIL DRILLING in THE EVERGLADES
ENDING SLAVERY in FLORIDA
Main Donation Page -> https://act.myngp.com/...
Act Blue -> https://secure.actblue.com/...