Citing Alcoholism, Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett Says He’s Not Running for Re-election

Report: Freshman Republican congressman says he’s an alcoholic and wants to focus on recovery

Amid reports that he wouldn’t run for re-election, Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Garrett on Thursday held a rambling news conference to announce that he was running. On Monday, he said that he’s not. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Saying that he’s an alcoholic and that he wants to focus on his recovery, Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett announced Monday he will not run for re-election in November.

Garrett, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, first told the Washington Post of his decision. 

The freshman Republican’s announcement came five days after a bizarre news conference in which he insisted he’d be coming back to Congress in 2019. 

It also came two days after four former staffers told Politico that Garrett and his wife had turned them into part-time gofers, picking up clothes and groceries and cleaning up after their dog, which was often in his Capitol Hill office.

Garrett, a former state senator, was elected to Virginia’s 5th District in 2016 by a 17-point margin. President Donald Trump carried the 5th District by 11 points.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 2018 race Likely Republican. Democrats have made this district a target. Former journalist Leslie Cockburn won the nomination at a Democratic convention earlier this month. Cockburn had outraised Garrett and Republicans had raised concerns about his finances. Cockburn tweeted her best wishes to Garrett Monday night. 

The 5th District GOP committee is likely to select a replacement nominee. 

Watch: Garrett Says He’s Running for Re-election in Winding Speech


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