Rep.Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017
U.S. Rep. Tom Marino had to go.
With President Donald Trump promising to declare all-out war starting next week against the nation’s epidemic of opioid abuse, he couldn’t afford to have Marino as his drug czar, officially the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Not when the whole world believes, fairly or unfairly, that Marino’s bill curbing the powers of the Drug Enforcement Administration basically contributed to the opioid crisis. In case you missed it, see our stories today, including the one from the Washington Post.
For all his talk about fake news, Trump knows the real thing when he sees it.
Whether Trump forced Marino to withdraw or Marino offered to leave to avoid tainting the president’s anti-opioid efforts makes little difference. He had to go.
“Rep.Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!” Trump tweeted at 7:39 a.m. today.
Yeah, for now, Marino remains a congressman, but I can’t see him running successfully for re-election now.
He still has $112,501.61 in cash left, but he only raised $8,500 in the last quarter and he hates raising money.
The line of people who potentially wanted to replace him if he moved up to drug czar stood long and deep. Even if Marino runs, he will likely face a primary election challenger, given what just happened.
As of last month, that list included Republicans like:
— Newton Twp. produce farmer Keith Eckel. Everyone was waiting for him to decide, but I think the longer he drags out his decision, the less likely he is to run.
— Marino chief of staff Dave Weber of South Abington Twp., a close friend of Eric Trump, the president’s son.
— State Rep. Fred Keller of Snyder County.
— Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko.
— State Sen. Gene Yaw of Lycoming County.
— State Sen. Mario Scavello of Monroe County.
— Lycoming County Commissioner Tony Mussare
— State Rep. Jeff C. Wheeland Lycoming County.
Of course, Democrats would Marino to run. Their possibles include:
— Mark P. McDade of Clifton Twp. a union representative for the Pennsylvania State Education Association and former public school teacher
— Judy Herschel of Susquehanna County, a certified drug and alcohol abuse counselor.
— Former U.S. Rep. Chris Carney of Susquehanna County.
One thing that probably won’t happen: no special election to replace Marino mid term. Marino will probably stick it out through next year just to keep the seat safely in Republican hands, but this episode could turn him into a party albatross that requires another resignation, this time from Congress.
— BORYS KRAWCZENIUK