Politics

Ohio GOP Rep Gonzales, former Colts player who voted to impeach Trump, won’t seek reelection

U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, an Ohio Republican, walks down the House steps after a vote on March 11, 2021. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

(WISH/CNN) — Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump earlier this year, announced Thursday that he will not run for reelection in 2022.

Gonzalez was sworn in the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019, the first Latino to represent Ohio in Congress. He completed the term of then-U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, who ran for governor rather than seek re-election. Gonzalez was reelected in 2020.

The 36-year-old played for the Indianapolis Colts from 2007 to 2011 and Ohio State from 2004-2006.

He issued a statement about his decision Thursday night on Twitter.

“Since entering politics, I have always said that I will do this job for as long as the voters will have me and it still works for my family. As Elizabeth and I consider the realities of continuing in public service while juggling increasing responsibilities of being parents to our two beautiful children, it is clear that the best path for our family is not to seek re-election next fall.

“Given the political realities of the day, I know this news will come as a disappointment to those who have been involved in our efforts. You have given me and my family tremendous strength and courage in the face of much adversity these past few months and years. Please know that every word has mean the world to me and given me hope that the chaotic political environment that currently infects our country will only be temporary. While my desire to build a fully family life is at the heart of my decision, it is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decision.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as your Member of Congress and I will treasure the remaining months that I have left in office. Looking critically at our record these past few years, I take great pride in the wins that our office achieved. I have always viewed this job as having two critical components: legislation and constituent services. On both, I would put our record up against any other office in the country.

“Any wins that we achieved were the direct result of a diligent and thoughtful staff that executed brilliantly. We have true public servants on our team, and the constituents of the 16th district have been incredibly fortunate to have this group working on their behalf. I will forever live in gratitude for the faith my team placed in me and the amount of work they put in to serve our district. This was especially true during the pandemic where they often worked 80-hour weeks to ensure our people and our businesses had all they needed to navigate such an uncertain time. It has been true again as multiple staff members continue sacrificing nights and weekends with their families in hopes of freeing more Americans from the grips of the Taliban. Ours is a team you can be proud of.

“In closing, I simply wish to thank the incredible people of the 16th district for allowing me the privilege of serving.”

Statement from U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, an Ohio Republicans, on Twitter

Gonzalez had previously argued that Trump’s rhetoric at the “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the insurrection on January 6 and the fact that the former president did little to stop those actions swayed him to back the impeachment charges. That decision unearthed profound anger in his northeast Ohio district, kicking off a localized fight over the future of the Republican Party that pit the two-term congressman against irate constituents eager to expel any member of the party who crossed the former president.

Trump, for his part, campaigned against the lawmaker in June, rallying for primary opponent Max Miller, a former Trump aide, in his first return to the campaign trail after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Ohio Republican Party Central Committee had voted in May to censure Gonzalez and call for his resignation.

Gonzalez was one of only 35 House Republicans who voted later that month to establish an independent commission to investigate the insurrection, which Senate Republicans later blocked.

Republicans who pushed for his ouster from the 16th District were elated following the announcement.

Shannon Burns, the head of Strongsville Republicans, a group in the district, had called for Gonzalez’s ouster since he voted to impeach Trump, including by spearheading an effort to have the Ohio GOP central committee call for his resignation.

“The members of Strongsville GOP were steadfast in their opposition to Anthony Gonzalez after he voted to impeach our sitting President with no proof and no due process,” Burns said in a statement. “In the end, Congressman Gonzalez realized that without the support of the base of the party represented by Strongsville GOP and in the face of the Trump endorsement of Max Miller, he had no pathway to victory in the Republican Primary.”

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