News and Commentary

GOP Congressman Refuses To Seek Re-election To Treat Alcoholism

On Monday, Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA) announced he would not seek reelection for a second term in Congress due to his ongoing battle with alcoholism. After a week of chaos in his office, rumors began flying about his departure from Washington, D.C. Garrett’s chief of staff, Jimmy Keady, resigned amidst a damaging story in Politico about Garrett’s treatment of staffers.

The Politico story accused Congressman Garrett of treating some of his staffers as servants. Four anonymous sources claimed that Garrett made them perform personal, not professional, tasks in the workplace. The staffers were forced to act as the Garrett family’s personal chauffeurs and maids. One ex-aide even said they were put in charge of cleaning the family dog’s doo-doo off the carpet.

According to Politico, Garrett had begun telling associates he would not seek re-election, but then changed his tune Wednesday in a 30-minute news conference. “There is no way in heck that I’m not going to be back here in 2019 as a member of the Congress representing the 5th District of Virginia,” said Garrett. “Too darn much is at stake.”

After more contemplation, the 46-year-old member of the Freedom Caucus released a recorded statement announcing once and for all that he would not be running for reelection.

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. This is the hardest statement that I have ever publicly made by far. It’s also the truth.

The 5th Congressional District Republican Committee now must scramble to find another candidate. Names being tossed around by those close to the VA GOP include Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (Fauquier), state Sen. William M. Stanley Jr. (Franklin), Sen. Bryce E. Reeves (Spotsylvania) and Del. Robert B. Bell (Albemarle), among others.

This is just the latest in a string of 48 Republican retirements before the 2018 midterm elections, and many working for the majority on the Hill continue to worry about their job security come January.