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Virginia congressman has second thoughts about retirement, will run for re-election

Rep. Tom Garrett

Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, who represents the Charlottesville, Virginia, area, is planning to run for re-election after leaving his supporters and constituents in a bizarre, public state of limbo for more than 24 hours.

The state of confusion came before Garrett admitted Thursday that he had made plans to resign but then abruptly changed course.

“Yesterday, in frustration I said,’I don’t know if I want to do this anymore,’ but in the last 24 hours I have taken the time to think and pray a lot,” Garrett said.

Politico initially reported Wednesday afternoon that Garrett was in a state of “turmoil” and was seriously considering stepping down. This after he had a blowup with his chief of staff, Jimmy Keady, that led to Keady leaving his position.

After the Politico report, Garrett refused to answer reporter’s questions and even played coy with some of his closest friends in politics about his future. With Garrett’s future uncertain Virginia Republicans scrambled to plan for the fall election. Garrett had already won the party’s nomination, but his absence would force them to pick a replacement quickly. Several prominent Republicans in and around his district had begun making calls about the potential opening.

But it was not to be. Garrett invited reporters to watch as he conducted a Facebook live broadcast. He delivered a lengthy, often rambling, monologue where he listed off his accomplishments as a legislator. Garrett got particularly emotional when discussing the plight of the former University of Virginia Woman’s Basketball Coach Joanne Boyle and her effort to adopt a daughter from Senegal. Garrett informed the press that he had their attention and he planned to use it to tell her story.

“I am asking for your help to bring the pressure to bare to get the people at DHS and at USCIS to create a circumstance where this child … can live in this country with the only family member she knows and the only family she knows,” Garrett said.

He finished his almost 15 minute speech by saying he was in fact staying in Congress and running for re-election.

“I will tell you that there is no way in heck that I am not going to back here in Congress representing the 5th district of Virginia because too much is at stake,” he said.