Tom Garrett (VA-05) Announces He Will Not Seek Reelection – UPDATED

Representative Tom Garrett (R, VA-05) unexpectedly announced in an emotional video Monday that he would not seek reelection after only one term in Washington.

The announcement was expected but never materialized last Thursday at a hastily-called press conference that was covered by Bearing Drift’s Rick Sincere and live-blogged by Bearing Drift‘s Melissa Kenney here.

Monday’s announcement was reported by Laura Vozzella and Jenna Portnoy at the Washington Post:

Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) announced Monday that he is struggling with alcoholism and will abandon his run for a second term in Congress so he can focus on recovery and his family.

Garrett, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, is the 44th Republican to retire or announce they will not seek reelection to the House this year, according to CNN’s retirement tracker. Many are leaving in anticipation of a strong Democratic performance in Congressional races this fall and out of frustration with partisan politics in Washington.

The former Virginia state senator was facing a robust challenge from his Democratic challenger, journalist and author Leslie Cockburn, who had raised more money than him and had more cash on hand.

“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,” Garrett, fighting back tears, said in a video shot Monday afternoon on Richmond’s Capitol Square. “This is the hardest statement that I have ever publicly made by far. It’s also the truth.”

As Garrett spoke, wife held their baby daughter off camera. The couple embraced, sobbing, after he finished speaking.

This is a breaking story. Stay tuned…..

UPDATE x1: Speculation about possible candidates include Delegate Rob Bell, state Senator Bryce Reeves, U.S. Senate candidate Nick Freitas, Nelson County businessman Denver Riggleman.

UPDATE x2: As the Bearing Drift writers continue to discuss possible candidates, here are more: Bill Stanley, Jill Vogel, Michael Del Rosso, Martha Boneta, Danny Marshall.

UPDATE x3: Bruce Hedrick, owner of SouthsideCentral.com in Danville, has speculated on some of the same ones the BD writers have suggested, but he also had a couple of names I hadn’t heard mentioned: Delegate Les Adams and James Edmunds.

UPDATE x4: Rick Sincere shares that Joe Whited, who ran two years ago, has been receiving calls encouraging him to get in (see Joe Whited Seeking 5th District seat).

Cover photo by Rick Sincere