Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) has said he will not stand for re-election in 2022 due to former President Donald Trump’s influence over the Republican Party.
Gonzalez was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, and the former president backed Gonzalez’s main opponent, Max Miller, in retaliation. Trump and Gonzalez had rode Air Force One together, but Trump called the Ohio congressman a “sold” and a “bogus Republican” at a rally in June.
“The current state of our politics, especially many toxic dynamics within our own party, is a big factor in my decision,” Gonzalez wrote on Twitter Thursday. He lamented “the chaotic political environment which currently infects our country”, but said his supporters gave him hope that it would be “only temporary”.
Talk to The New York TimesGonzalez called Trump “cancer for the country” and said, “I don’t believe he can be president again. Most of my political energy will be devoted to working on this specific goal. “
He called that Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill a “line moment in the sand” that prompted his vote to impeach Trump.
The Ohio Republican served two terms in the House. He also spoke of concerns for his two young children and a desire to spend more time with them in his choice not to run.
“It is clear that the best path for our family is not to be re-elected next fall,” he wrote.
With Gonzalez out of the race, Miller, a former Trump campaign staffer endorsed by the former president, avoids a formidable opponent in his bid to become his district’s Republican nominee. Miller has a long criminal record that includes disorderly conduct, assault, resistance to arrest and vandalism. He once dated former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, but their relationship ended abruptly when Miller allegedly pushed her against her apartment wall and slapped her for accusing him of infidelity, according to Politico. Miller denied that the assault took place and said his rap sheet didn’t reflect who he is today.
Gonzalez said, “This is the direction we’re going to go for the next two years and potentially four, and it’s going to make Trump the center of fundraising and political awareness efforts. It’s not something I’m going to be a part of.
The Ohio Republican was a rising star in the GOP before he voted for Trump’s impeachment. He was an Ohio State wide receiver who was subsequently selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. He went on to earn an MBA from Stanford and took his district’s congressional seat on his first try.
He told the Times he believed he could beat Miller, but at a high price.
“You can fight and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy?” And the answer is, probably not, ”he said.
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