Fighting back tears, Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) announced that he will not seek reelection in 2018 and revealed that he is an alcoholic in a videotaped statement on Monday.
“The tragedy is, 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,” he said. “This is the hardest statement that I have ever publicly made by far. It’s also the truth.
“Not for fear of losing, or for lack of love for our great nation, today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection,” he continued. “Sometimes winning means knowing where your priorities should be.”
He also addressed recent allegations made by former staffers that Garrett and his wife, Flanna, forced them to carry out inappropriate duties far outside the scope of their professional purview, including chauffeuring their children and cleaning up after their dog.
“The recent attacks on my family and myself are a series of half-truths and whole lies,” Garrett said. “They are driven more by Republicans than Democrats. These attacks are not true and I can prove that.”
Rumors that Garrett might drop out of the race have been flying since he and his chief of staff split unexpectedly on Tuesday evening, followed by a rambling and emotional press conference Thursday when Garrett tried to smooth the waters and assure listeners that he was still waging a competitive reelection bid. The staffers’ accusations were published Friday.
According to the Washington Post, the 5th Congressional District Republican Committee will choose a new candidate to take Garrett’s place, as the filing deadline in Virginia has passed. Whoever the committee chooses will face competitive Democratic candidate Leslie Cockburn, who had been giving Garrett significant trouble as he struggled to match her fundraising success.
Watch Garrett’s address below: