Rep. Tom Garrett says he won't seek re-election to the House this year—not because of reports he mistreated his staffers, but because he is an alcoholic. "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,” the Republican said in an emotional videotaped statement Monday. "This is the hardest statement that I have ever publicly made by far. It’s also the truth." Garrett is the 48th House Republican to announce that they will not seek re-election this year, the Washington Post reports. He had been facing a tough challenge in his Virginia district from Democratic author Leslie Cockburn.
Garrett, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a former Virginia state senator, insisted just days ago that he was still planning on running. "There is no way in heck that I’m not going to be back here in 2019 as a member of the Congress representing the 5th District of Virginia," he said Thursday. In his statement Monday, Garrett denied a Politico report that he and his wife had violated congressional rules by using staffers to carry out errands including picking up groceries, driving his daughters around, and even taking care of his dog. "The recent attacks on my family are a series of half-truths and whole lies," Garrett said. He tells the Post that he never drank on the job, but "to his own detriment," he would drink after work whenever possible. (Read more House of Representatives stories.)