Rep. Tom Garrett, a one-term Congressman from Virginia, has abruptly announced that he will not run for re-election to the House, declaring that he owes it to his family to step aside and deal with his alcoholism.
“Sometimes winning means knowing where your priorities should be. My devotion to the ideals and beliefs in America has not wavered,” Garrett said, reports The Washington Post, “but my commitment to be the best husband, father and friend means addressing the only truth I’ve been heretofore unwilling to tell.”
The Garretts have three daughters.
While the 46-year-old former military officer and county prosecutor may well have a lifelong drinking problem, he may also feel pressure because his Democratic challengers in the 5th Congressional district have been raising more money than he has.
The final straw may have come on Friday when Politico ran an investigative report in which at least four former employees of his Congressional office said that Garrett and his wife would ask them to run personal errands including getting groceries and walking their dog — which would be prohibited under House ethics rules.
Garrett denied the allegations and described himself as a “good man.”
Tom Garrett and his wife ran an abusive office, forcing staffers into doing errands for them at the risk of sparking their tempers. Caught, he says he's an alcoholic and he'll resign https://t.co/7b5awPGeJM
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) May 28, 2018
Garrett served in the state Assembly before winning his seat in 2016 by a bigger margin than Donald Trump won the state of Virginia.
He is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, the name for the group of the most ultra-conservative members of Congress, and regularly voted with the president.
Garrett became mired in controversy earlier this year when he was seen in a photograph with Jason Kessler, one of the controversial Unite The Right rally organizers of the event in Charlottesville, Virginia that turned violent and cost one young woman her life.
Garrett disavowed Kessler and claimed he didn’t know about his role in the rally.
However, using the Freedom of Information Act, critics got emails which showed he was warned about Kessler prior to their meeting, yet ignored those warnings.
Garrett joins a long list of Republican Congress members who will not run for re-election, many of them fearing that the association with President Trump would doom their campaigns.
With Democrats showing renewed strength in Virginia, Garrett’s seat in the House will now be in play and could help a Blue Wave lead to returning the House to Democratic control, which would be very bad news for Trump.
If in the majority, Democrats would have the power to launch investigations and subpoena witnesses in the many scandals, controversies, and issues that surround this president.
So we hope for the sake of Garrett’s children he gets the help he needs with his alcoholism, and for the sake of America, the voters in his district elect a Democrat in November.