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Ex-White House doctor allegedly known as ‘Candyman’ is running for Congress in Texas

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, a former White House physician, is running for Congress. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Ronny L. Jackson, the former Navy officer and White House physician once considered to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, filed Monday to run for a congressional seat in Texas, according to the state’s GOP.

Jackson, a rear admiral who served in Iraq, was President Trump’s personal physician in April 2018 when he was nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. But he withdrew from consideration after Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released a two-page summary accusing Jackson of improperly dispensing medication to staff members, drinking on the job and contributing to a hostile work environment during his tenure as White House physician.

The report alleged that Jackson was known by the moniker “Candyman” because he freely distributed medications to White House staff without paperwork, including the sleep aid Ambien. Jackson denied the allegations, and Trump later called the claims “false accusations against a great man.”

The Texas Tribune was first to report that Jackson arrived at the Texas GOP headquarters in Austin on Monday, hours before the filing deadline, and submitted paperwork to run for the congressional seat. The Republican Party of Texas confirmed the report in a Monday afternoon email to The Washington Post.

The lengthy list of allegations against Ronny Jackson, annotated

In February, Trump tapped Jackson to receive a promotion and to be his top medical adviser. CNN reported this month that Jackson had retired from the Navy despite an ongoing investigation into the allegations against him led by the Defense Department’s Inspector General.

Jackson, who also served as White House physician under presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, is one of 13 candidates vying for a seat in Texas’s heavily Republican 13th District, according to the Tribune. The seat opened when Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, announced in September that he plans to retire.

Thornberry, a 13-term lawmaker, is one of several members of Texas’s House GOP caucus to announce that they are either retiring, resigning or seeking another office.

During an October rally last year, Trump blamed Tester for Jackson’s failed nomination. The president said Tester “led the Democrat mob in the effort to destroy the reputation of a great man.”

But moments later, Trump conceded that Jackson may have lacked the necessary qualifications for the job.

“And he might not have been qualified,” Trump added. “But here’s a doctor at a high level, and he’s a man that everybody respected. I saw that. Respect is so important.”

John Wagner contributed to this report.

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