Newswire (Published: Monday, March 2, 2020, Received: Sunday, March 1, 2020, 10:11:18 PM CST)

Word Count: 414

Former Congressman Mark Foley, who thought he had overcome prostate cancer in 2011, said Sunday the disease has returned.

“In October, I was advised that the prostate cancer, that I thought I had successfully conquered, has had a recurrence and I am currently undergoing treatment to help stem the spread of this disease,” he said in a statement emailed Sunday.

Foley was a Republican congressman representing what used to be the 16th Congressional District, including much of Palm Beach County, for almost 12 years. He resigned shortly before the 2006 elections when his sexually laced internet messages with teens became public.

He went into alcohol rehabilitation, came out as gay and said he’d been the victim of childhood sexual abuse by a priest. He’s said there was never any sexual contact, and FBI and state investigations were closed without criminal charges. Foley has apologized on multiple occasions.

Foley, 65, has been increasingly welcomed in Republican circles in Palm Beach County.

One immediate consequence is a decision to close down the campaign committee that he’s kept going since he resigned from the U.S. House in 2006. Former members of Congress can keep their campaign accounts operating.

Foley has used the money to pay for various political activities over the years, and his pile of potential campaign cash periodically leads to speculation that he might run for office again.

He said Sunday he had “held held out hope to once again serve the communities that I love in an elected capacity. As time has passed, and with the turbulence of the politics of today, I have spent a great deal of time contemplating what the future holds.”

A run for office won’t happen, he said Sunday night. “My focus needs to be on my health and not the external distractions of whether I will run again," he said. 'I am grateful that I had the opportunity of a lifetime to represent so many amazing people and, as long as my health allows, I will endeavor to serve my communities in other capacities outside of elective office."

In a Dec. 31, 2019, filing with the Federal Election Commission, Foley’s campaign committee said it had $958,000 in cash.

Foley said he would contribute the money to local charities.

Anthony Man can be reached at aman@sunsentinel.com or on Twitter @browardpolitics

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