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Republican congressman Anthony Gonzalez voted his conscience, and now he may pay for it in his home state.
Gonzalez, a former Indianapolis Colts and Ohio State wide receiver who now represents Ohio's 16th district, may be censured by the Ohio GOP for voting to impeach former president Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He was one of 10 Republican congresspeople to cross party lines and vote to impeach Trump, and the Ohio GOP — now led by former Trump Ohio campaign manager Bob Paduchik — will discuss censuring all of them.
According to Sabrina Eaton of Cleveland.com, the vote is scheduled for Friday, but it appears to be largely symbolic. The resolution, obtained by Cleveland.com, doesn't call for any action to be taken against Gonzalez or the other nine congresspeople.
Forces amassing against Gonzalez
On the day of the impeachment vote, which took place on Jan. 13, Gonzalez tweeted out a statement explaining that Trump's involvement in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol "compelled" him to vote for impeachment.
Since then, Gonzalez has been facing constant criticism from Ohio politicians. The now-former leader of the Ohio GOP, Jane Timken, initially came out in support of Gonzalez. Less than a week later she resigned from the Ohio GOP, announced her decision to run for Senate, and came out against Gonzalez's impeachment vote.
Max Miller, a former Trump aide who is mounting a primary challenge against Gonzalez, criticized him for not putting his constituents first.
Local Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno, who like Timken is running for Ohio's soon-to-be vacant Senate seat, echoed Miller's sentiment in a statement released to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"The Party is unified behind the policy victories of Donald J. Trump!" Moreno said in a statement. "Elected officials need to actually represent the people they serve, and there are consequences when they do not."
Gonzalez, 36, played for OSU for three years before being taken by the Colts with the 32nd pick in the 2007 NFL draft. He retired after five seasons and enrolled in Stanford Business School, where he earned an MBA. When he ran for congress for the first time in 2018, he was supported by former teammate Peyton Manning, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, and several other former NFL players.
He won in 2018 and again in 2020, but the future is unclear. He's facing a primary challenge from Miller, but Ohio is losing a congressional seat due to the results of the 2020 US Census. It's not known which district will be eliminated.
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