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Ohio GOP wants former Ohio State WR Rep. Anthony Gonzalez to resign from the U.S. House

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The state of Ohio's Republican Party wants Rep. Anthony Gonzalez to resign from his seat in the House of Representatives. 

The former Ohio State and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver has represented Ohio’s 16th district in Congress since 2019 as a Republican. And on Friday, the governing board of the state GOP voted to approve a resolution calling for Gonzalez’s resignation.

The call for resignation came after Gonzalez and nine others were officially censured. Gonzalez was among 10 Republican members of the House who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Five people died in the riot. Trump was acquitted on the impeachment charges in the U.S. Senate after his term ended.

Two Republican candidates running for an open Senate seat in 2022 immediately said they supported the vote to censure Gonzalez and others. One even said that Gonzalez should be "eradicated" from the party. The Senate seat is open after Sen. Rob Portman (R) announced that he would not seek re-election. 

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, file photo, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, speaks during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on intercollegiate athlete compensation. Federal legislation setting guidelines for college athletes to pursue money-making opportunities could be proposed within a month, and Gonzalez, who is planning to introduce it, said Thursday, June 4, 2020, there will be no blanket antitrust exemption for the NCAA. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Anthony Gonzalez is in his third year in the United States House of Representatives. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Resolution claims Gonzalez ‘knowingly and willfully violated’ oath of office

The resolution to call for Gonzalez’s resignation was introduced by a member of the state party who said that Gonzalez had a “hidden vendetta” against the former president.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

The party initially planned to vote on censure, but Shannon Burns, president of the Strongsville GOP, offered a resolution to take the rebuke a step further. He called for the resignation of Gonzalez for betraying his constituents and holding a “hidden vendetta” against Trump.

"Gonzalez resorted to emotional conclusions that misplaced blame on President Trump, the President of Law and Order and America First," the resolution read. "We believe that Congressman Gonzalez knowingly and willfully violated his oath of office."

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the vote to call for Gonzalez's resignation was not unanimous. 

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The rebuke of Gonzalez and others comes as members of the GOP across the country continue to display their support for the former president as publicly as they can. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is widely expected to be removed from her House leadership position in the GOP because she has been outspoken against the lie that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. 

Gonzalez comfortably won re-election in 2020

Friday's machinations make it likely that Gonzalez will have a Trump-loyal challenger in the Republican primary ahead of the 2022 election. Gonzalez, whose district is outside Cleveland and Akron, comfortably won re-election in 2020 with over 60 percent of the vote. That was an over six-point increase from his vote share in 2018. 

Gonzalez had 87 catches for 1,286 yards and 13 TDs in three seasons at Ohio State. He played in the NFL for five seasons and had 99 catches for 1,307 yards and seven TDs. He’s also the sponsor of a bipartisan bill reintroduced in the House in April that would allow college athletes across the country to make endorsement and sponsorship income.

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