What Is Going On With Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s Contentious Race For Re-Election?
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Who is Rep. Anthony Gonzalez?
Anthony Gonzalez is the Congressman for Ohio’s 16th congressional district, which includes parts of Akron as well as some Cleveland suburbs. Gonzalez was born to Cuban refugees who fled the island during the Castro regime. He is the first Latino ever to represent Ohio in Congress. Before he was a congressman, he was an NFL player for the Indianapolis Colts.
In early 2021, Rep. Gonzalez was one of only a handful of Republicans to condemn President Trump’s behavior leading up to the January 16th insurrection. Gonzalez was one of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump for the “incitement of insurrection”. He is up for reelection in 2022.
Why is this one congressional race in Ohio garnering so much attention?
This election is garnering so much attention because former President Trump is using this race as a facade to hold Trump rallies. Because of his anti-Trump record, Gonzalez has a fight ahead of him in the Republican primary elections. Already, Gonzalez has a fierce and outspoken challenger by the name of Max Miller. Max Miller is a former Trump aide who likes to frequently call Gonzalez a “traitor” for voting to impeach Trump.
Former President Trump held a “rally” that was meant to promote Miller’s candidacy. Instead, it ended up essentially becoming a Trump rally, with tons of Trump supporters gathering to support the ex-president. Trump is apparently staging multiple rallies in the upcoming weeks that will be aimed at the Republicans who voted to impeach him. Some media outlets have called these rallies Trump’s “revenge tour”.
“Max’s opponent is a guy named Anthony Gonzalez, who’s bad news,” said Trump at Miller’s rally. “He’s a grandstanding RINO, not respected in DC, who voted for the unhinged, unconstitutional illegal impeachment witch hunt. He’s a sellout, he’s a fake Republican, and a disgrace to your state, I will tell you that.”
What do Rep. Gonzalez’s constituents think of his anti-Trump stance?
According to many reports, many of Rep. Gonzalez’s constituents are staunchly pro-Trump and are angry with Gonzalez for voting to impeach him. “He turned on Trump, so he turned on me when he did that,” said 77-year-old Trump rally attendee Carolyn Kovac to CNN.
But despite the blowback, Rep. Gonzalez is sticking by his morals. In fact, he recently voted in favor of forming a committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection. Again, he was one of only a few Republicans to do so. While this decision is infuriating to his constituents who are Trump Republicans, the moderates feel differently.
“If the Republican Party means you have to be a Trump supporter, I don’t know what that means for me anymore,” said Dave Handwerk, who is the mayor of a small town in Gonzalez’s district. “For me, it just means I don’t know where the Republican Party is going anymore.”