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Florida Republican party calls on Congressman Radel to resign

Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel (R-FLA) talks to the local media during a news conference at his district office in Cape Coral, Florida, November 20
Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel (R-FLA) talks to the local media during a news conference at his district office in Cape Coral, Florida, November 20

(Reuters) - The Republican Party of Florida called on Republican Congressman Henry "Trey" Radel on Monday to resign after he pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession.

Lenny Curry, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said in a statement that Radel's constituents, in a district in the southwest part of the state, need a congressman who is "100 percent focused" on their needs.

"Therefore, Congressman Radel should step down and focus his attention on rehabilitation and his family," Curry said.

Radel, 37, said last week he will take a leave of absence and donate his salary to charity, after he pleaded guilty in superior court in the District of Columbia to the cocaine possession charge.

He was sentenced to one year probation for buying 3.5 grams of cocaine in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood on October 29 in the presence of an undercover agent.

Radel was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives last year with backing from the conservative Tea Party movement. His district includes the cities of Naples and Cape Coral.

Last week, Radel appeared to have no plans to resign from the House of Representatives, saying his staff will handle his affairs in his absence.

A representative from his office could not be reached for comment late on Monday.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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