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Rep. Anthony Gonzalez's Impeachment Vote Was The End Of The Road In Ohio

anthony gonzalez
Carolyn Kaster
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, in a tweet late Thursday night, announced he would not seek reelection in 2022.

The news that Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) will not seek reelection in 2022 has garnered reaction from local politicos that runs the spectrum. On one side, some are mourning the loss of someone they consider a good Congressman to a toxic political climate in Ohio. On the other, Trump Republicans are celebrating the political end of someone they see as a turncoat.

Matt Cox, a political analyst and president of the consultancy firm Capitol Partners, calls the news “unfortunate.”

“First of all, he's a really good member of Congress — just functionally — and he's also a really good person. So, it's unfortunate that he's decided not to run for reelection,” Cox told Ideastream Public Media Friday. “I think really good people who are in public office these days get washed out quite a bit, which also is unfortunate.” 

In his Twitter announcement Thursday, Gonzalez pointed to concerns he had for the safety and the wellbeing of his family. It was, he said, his primary motivation for stepping away from his 16th district seat at the end of his term.

Cox believes that’s likely a huge part of what drove the Congressman. He says all one needs to do is look around Ohio to see how vitriolic the political climate has become.

“People who are threatening school board members over wearing masks, people who are threatening doctors over vaccines,” Cox said. “I can only imagine what kind of threats he's [Gonzalez is] getting. And so, yeah, I'm guessing he decided for the betterment of his family and himself and his future. I mean, he's a young guy, he's got a lot of time left to make his mark in public or in private, and he figured, why bother?”

The 16th district runs from Westlake south to Wooster. Republican legislators will soon begin drawing a new map for Congressional district lines that eliminates one House seat following the latest Census data. Cox speculates that may have impacted Gonzalez’s decision. 

“Well, clearly, the Shontel Brown (11th Congressional) district has to move away from Akron, so when you move it up, you have to move it west. So you think, maybe the district moves into Lakewood, Rocky River, potentially Westlake, which is very possible why Gonzales has also decided to not run again,” Cox said. “A sitting member of Congress deciding to retire or not run for reelection does make the map drawing a lot easier because you don't have to really work against a sitting member.” 

Meanwhile, the Strongsville GOP is celebrating the news that Gonzalez won’t run for reelection in 2022.

Party President Shannon Burns says the Republican Congressman’s vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol was “unthinkable” and “unforgivable.”

“I'm really excited today that we got to play a part in making sure that he wasn't another terrible, terrible American political story,” Burns told Ideastream Public Media Friday. “Right now, he's history. And we've got a future that we can be proud of.”

Burns said the moment Gonzalez joined with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and eight other Republicans to impeach Trump was the moment a line was drawn. 

He says the Strongsville GOP won’t endorse any candidates until after the filing deadline. Former Trump aid Max Miller is seeking the seat and has the support of his former boss. 
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