Republican Congressman Thomas Garrett of Virginia announced that he will no longer seek re-election for a second term, saying he will focus on his recovery from alcoholism

By Stephanie Petit
May 29, 2018 02:57 PM
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Republican Congressman Thomas Garrett of Virginia announced that he will no longer seek re-election for a second term, saying he will focus on his recovery from alcoholism.

“There’s one area where I haven’t been honest. The tragedy is that 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,” an emotional Garrett said in a video statement shared by the Washington Post on Monday. “This is the hardest statement that I have ever publicly made by far. It’s also the truth.”

He added, “With this in mind, not for fear of losing or for lack of love for our great nation, today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election. Sometimes winning means knowing where your priorities should be.”

Garrett is the 48th House Republican elected in 2016 who is not running for re-election this year, according to the House Press Gallery‘s “Casualty List,” compared to 20 Democrats.

House Foreign Affairs Committee
Tom Garrett
| Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Garrett’s announcement comes just days after he insisted he would not pull out of the race despite a report published by Politico in which anonymous former staffers claimed the congressman and his wife regularly tasked employees with personal chores such as picking up groceries and cleaning up after their pet dog.

He denied the report in the video statement, saying, “The recent attacks on my family and myself were a series of half-truths and whole lies.”

Politico also reported that Garrett’s chief of staff, Jimmy Keady, had “abruptly” resigned last week due to a dispute over “the couple’s alleged misuse of official resources.”

Garrett’s Democratic opponent, journalist and author Leslie Cockburn, tweeted about the news of Garrett’s withdrawal from the race on Monday evening.

“My opponent Tom Garrett has announced that he is not seeking reelection,” she wrote. “This must be a very difficult time for him, his family and staff. It is important that he has recognized his alcohol addiction and I wish him well.”