GOP House member quits, after allegedly named as brothel clientby John Kennedy | September 24th, 2012
Rep. Mike Horner, a Kissimmee Republican and a favorite of the Christian Coalition of Florida, abandoned his re-election bid Monday after being named in a state attorney’s investigation into a prostitution ring.
Horner served two terms in the state House. He was to face Democrat Eileen Game in November in a race he was widely expected to win.
Horner is president of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce. Although not charged, he has reportedly been named on a client list at an Orange County brothel allegedly run by Mark Risner, who was arrested on five felony charges in August.
The Florida Republican Party can name a replacement for Horner. But the incumbent’s name will appear on the ballot and the new Republican will have to run under Horner’s name.
Horner earned a 100 percent rating from the Christian Coalition in 2009, its most recent legislative scorecard.
Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said, “I believe he made the right decision. 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.
”I accept Mike’s decision and offer my prayers during this difficult time for him and his family.”
In a statement his office issued, Horner acknowledged some missteps.
“I deeply regret decisions I made that are causing my family unjustifiable pain and embarrassment,” Horner said. “My family still deserves better from me, as do all my friends, supporters and constituents.”
As a legislator, one of Horner’s noteworthy accomplishments was sponsoring National Rifle Association-backed legislation barring adoption agencies from making prospective parents reveal whether they have guns or ammunition at home.
Horner said the measure stemmed from a personal experience. Horner said he and his wife dealt with a “mountain” of paperwork when they attempted to adopt a child through the Children’s Home Society of Florida, which assists with adoptions in the Orlando area.
Horner said the couple were offended when asked about what weapons they had at home.
Horner is the second Orlando-area House member to quit after being linked to prostitution. In 1996, state Rep. Marvin Couch, a family-values, conservative Christian legislator, has been charged with having sex with a prostitute in his truck at an Orange County shopping center.