Ohio Republican who voted to impeach Trump decides not to seek reelection

Anthony Gonzalez cites ‘toxic dynamics’ inside GOP

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez is not seeking a third term representing Ohio’s 16th District.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez is not seeking a third term representing Ohio’s 16th District. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted September 16, 2021 at 10:37pm

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who faced a brutal Republican primary after voting to impeach President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, announced Thursday that he planned to retire rather than seek a third term in 2022.  

“While my desire to build a fuller 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,” Gonzalez said in a statement posted on Twitter late Thursday evening. Gonzalez, who turns 37 on Saturday, is the father of two young children. 

He first announced his decision in an interview with The New York Times, during which he called Trump “a cancer for the country” and vowed to spend “most of my political energy” ensuring that Trump is never president again. 

Gonzalez told the paper that the Jan. 6 riot was a “line in the sand moment” and that the growing concerns he had about the safety of his family had been a factor in his decision. 

A conservative who prefers to stay out of the media spotlight, Gonzalez has stressed his willingness to work with Democrats, even as he generally votes with his party. 

A former starting wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts and the son and grandson of Cuban exiles, with a Stanford MBA, Gonzalez easily won his first two elections in the Cleveland-area 16th District that backed Trump by 11 points in 2020. In Congress, he earned a reputation as a workhorse and has voted with the GOP more than 85 percent of the time this year through mid-September, when the average GOP score has been 95 percent, according to CQ Vote Watch

But his position in the GOP dramatically changed after his impeachment vote. He was formally censured by the Ohio GOP and became the first House Republican incumbent this cycle to have a primary challenger endorsed by the former president.

Gonzalez had so far outraised the Trump-backed Max Miller, a onetime aide to the former president, who has been dogged by reports of his past aggressive and violent behavior.