Mike Horner: ‘I Deeply Regret Decisions I Made’
Around the State
Florida Rep. Mike Horner abruptly ended his re-election campaign Monday after his name surfaced on a brothel client list.
As such, he has become part of an Orlando-area racketeering investigation involving a prostitution ring.
Horner, a former deputy whip who chaired the appropriations subcommittee for transportation and economic development, would release a statement later Monday that disputed early media reports, but admitted to making errors that involved his personal life.
“I deeply regret decisions I made that are causing my family unjustifiable pain and embarrassment. While current press accounts from this morning are erroneous, my family still deserves better from me, as do all my friends, supporters and constituents,” Horner stated in the release.
“So today, I am announcing I will no longer seek re-election to the Florida House.
“I’ve had no greater honor than serving the people of Florida, but I have no greater priority than doing the right thing for my family. I pray to have the chance to earn back their trust and respect during the remainder of my life."
House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, releasing what he declared will be the only comment on the matter, called Horner’s announcement “the right decision."
“It is in the best interest of our state and his family,” Weatherford stated. “As elected officials, we are held to a high standard and no member of the Florida House is above that standard. I accept Mike’s decision and offer my prayers during this difficult time for him and his family."
Horner's decision opens the seat for Democrat Eileen Game, a business executive from Frostproof, who has raised just $6,090.
But this doesn't grant Game the seat automatically.
The Republican Party of Osceola County now has five days to nominate a replacement for Horner in the District 42 contest that covers most of Osceola County and eastern Polk County. If the party finds a nominee, the new candidate must run under Horner’s name, which remains on the ballot. All Horner's votes would go to the replacement.
Through Sept. 14, Horner had spent only $52,066 of the $223,412 he raised.
WFTV in Orlando reported Monday that although state attorney office officials had "connected Kissimmee Republican Horner to a case involving prostitution and racketeering," he had not been arrested.
“Court documents show 54-year-old Mark David Risner was arrested and charged with running a prostitution operation out of an east Orange County house, which Risner owns, in the Royal Estates neighborhood near Dean Road and Colonial Drive,” WFTV reported.
Details were not immediately available as to how Horner, who is married and has one son, was connected to Risner.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Horner's name was on a client list of Risner.
Horner was first elected in 2008.
Watch for updates.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.