LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Voters have taken to the internet, expressing outrage as well as support for Congressman Trey Radel pleading guilty to cocaine possession. Some are even calling for him to be taken out of office.
On his Facebook page, you'll see comments like "You voted to drug-test welfare recipients. You should be fired and go to jail." Another person wrote, "Resign now!"
There's an online petition and even a Facebook page titled "Recall Congressman Trey Radel." But, their petition may not pack much of a punch.
While voters can petition recalls for certain public offices, the fact is, members of Congress can not be recalled from office. "There is no provision in the U.S. Constitution nor in the Florida Constitution to recall a member of the U.S. House of Representatives nor the U.S. Senate," Dr. Peter Bergerson saod.
Bergerson, a Professor of Political Science at FGCU said voters simply have the power to re-nominate or re-elect a member of Congress. The House of Representatives could expel him, but Bergerson said it's extremely rare. "The behavior that he pled guilty to was a personal issue, not something which he misused his office of the house for," Bergerson said.
Political Analyst Ben Polk said Radel could use this time to recover and become somewhat of a champion against addiction. "That is not uncommon," Polk said. "Look at Jesse Jackson, Jr. He was out of Congress for 6-7 months when he was in rehab. I think he has an opportunity to redeem himself and it'll be interesting to see how Fort Myers and the community accept it."
Many are rallying behind the Freshman Congressman. One person posted on Radel's page, "You can get well... Be willing, honest and forgive yourself."
Another said, "I believe you are still the best congressman and will always have our (SWFL) best interest at hand."
Congressman Radel has said he will seek treatment and counseling.