KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) _ A central Florida lawmaker whose name has been linked to a prostitution ring dropped out of his re-election race Monday.
Republican State Rep. Mike Horner announced his resignation after being linked to the arrest of another man.
“I deeply regret decisions I made that are causing my family unjustifiable pain and embarrassment,'' Horner said in a statement released by the Republican Party of Florida. “While current press accounts from this morning are erroneous, my family still deserves better from me, as do all my friends, supporters and constituents. 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.''
The name “Mike Horner'' was found on a list of names in the garbage of a defendant arrested last month for running a prostitution ring, said Bernie Presha, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office in Orlando.
Presha said Horner is not being investigated for any crime and faces no charges.
The defendant, Mark Risner, was charged with five felonies and eight misdemeanors following his arrest last month.
As news of the resignation circulated around Tallahassee House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford also issued a statement to Republican House members and candidates.
“I believe he made the right decision,'' Weatherford said. “It is in the best interest of our state and his family. As elected officials, we are held to a high standard and no member of the Florida House is above that standard.''
At Horner's Kissimmee office, all the blinds on the windows were closed and no one answered a knock at the front door. A “For Lease'' sign was also posted on the porch.
There also wasn't an answer at the door of a residence listed as being owned by Horner.
The 44-year-old is married and has a son. He was elected to the Florida House in 2008 and is the vice chair of the Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Committee.