- Rep. Tom Garrett, a Virginia Republican, announced Monday that he is suffering from alcoholism and will not seek reelection.
- This comes just days after Garrett’s chief of staff resigned and four former aides told Politico that Garrett and his wife used staffers and interns as personal servants.
- Garrett was facing a Democratic challenge in his central Virginia district from journalist and author Leslie Cockburn, who had already raised more campaign funds than he had.
Rep. Tom Garrett, a Virginia Republican, announced Monday that he is suffering from alcoholism and will not seek reelection in order to spend more time recovering and with his family.
“Any person – Republican, Democrat or independent – who has known me for any period of time and has any integrity knows two things: I am a good man and I’m an alcoholic,” the 46-year-old freshman lawmaker said in an emotional video filmed in Richmond’s Capitol Square on Monday afternoon. “This is the hardest statement that I have ever publicly made by far. It’s also the truth.”
A member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, Garrett is the 44th Republican to retire or choose not to seek reelection in 2018, by CNN’s count, amid a surge of Democratic challengers across the country.
This comes after a week of bruising media reports and turmoil in Garrett’s office. Last Tuesday, the congressman’s chief of staff abruptly resigned after which Garrett told allies he might not seek reelection, before reversing himself in a Facebook Live video.
“I am absolutely, positively running,” he said.
Then on Friday, four anonymous former aides told Politico that the congressman and his wife had used staffers and interns as personal servants, assigning them tasks including grocery shopping, chauffeuring their children, and cleaning up after their dog.
Garrett called the claims “a series of half truths and full lies.”
Several former staffers told Politico in a separate report that they had seen Garrett drinking in his congressional office.
Garrett was facing a Democratic challenge in his central Virginia district from journalist and author Leslie Cockburn, who had already raised more campaign funds than he had. And Republican leaders had grown increasingly concerned about his difficulty raising money for a seat they consider key to holding on to the party’s House majority.