Rep. Trey Radel To Resign From Congress

Embattled Radel to leave Congress ahead of 2014 election.

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Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., speaks during a press conference, on Capitol Hill, July 9, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., announced a leave of absence from Congress on Nov. 20, 2013, after pleading guilty to a cocaine possession charge.

Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., a freshman congressman who pleaded guilty in November to possessing cocaine, will resign.

His office confirmed Monday the congressman will send his letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

A special election is now expected to be held to replace Radel in the GOP stronghold. A long list of challengers had already begun lining up to take on the embattled congressman. Lizbeth Benacquisto and former Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., who served in Congress before Radel, have both considered running. Paige Kreegel, a former state lawmaker, had already declared his intent to challenge Radel in a primary.

[READ: Trey Radel to Be Randomly Drug Tested]

Radel, 37, had fought back against Republican and Democratic voices in his Ft. Myers district who had all urged him to step down from his office after news broke that he purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover officer.

The self-proclaimed "hip hop conservative" was elected to Congress in November 2012 and served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Committee Transportation and Infrastructure.

Radel, a former television journalist, took a leave from absence from Congress in November to seek treatment, but returned to Capitol Hill in January.

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