A Florida lawmaker says he is no longer seeking re-election, after his name was linked to a prostitution ring in Orlando. While Republican Representative Mike Horner removed himself from consideration, the State Attorney’s office in Orlando says the lawmaker is not under investigation.
In a statement Monday, Representative Horner says he “deeply regrets decisions he made that are causing his family unjustifiable pain and embarrassment.” He says he's dropping out of the House District 42 race, and he hopes to earn back the trust and respect of his family.
In early August, his name was found among a list of possible clients for a man who was later arrested for racketeering and running a prostitution ring in the Orlando area. But, Bernie Presha, the Spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office in Orlando, says they’re not looking into any of the names on the list because some may have used aliases.
“As far as Mr. Horner’s name coming up or someone with that similar name, that’s the connection. That it was on a list of hundreds of other names on a computer database,” said Presha.
The man arrested for racketeering and running a prostitution ring is 54-year-old Mark Risner. And, Presha adds the investigation appears to be concluding at Risner, not the names on Risner's possible client list, which includes Horner's.
“Don’t know why that name was on there and we did not confirm or anything as to who that is. There were just so many names on there," remarked Presha. "And, then some others were similar to ‘John Smith’ or things like that. So, we know that there’s a lot of ‘John Smith’s’ out there, but we didn’t put a lot of credence to that because they were not the subject of the [initial] investigation.”
Florida House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford says he believes Horner made the right decision in not seeking another House term, adding that it's in the best interests of his family and the state.
Horner is married and has a son. He could not be reached for comment at either of his offices in Tallahassee and Kissimmee.
It's unknown if a replacement candidate will be named. Horner's Democrat opponent was Eileen Game, an owner of a small business and a farm, and who was not the favorite to win against the incumbent Horner.
For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.