'Toxic dynamics:' Ex-Ohio State and Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez won't run for re-election to Congress in 2022

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Anthony Gonzalez is ending his Congressional tenure.

The former Ohio State and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver announced Thursday night that he wouldn't seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives. Gonzalez has represented Ohio's 16th District since 2019. 

Gonzalez was one of 35 Republicans who voted to impeach ex-president Donald Trump in May for Trump's role in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Gonzalez did not vote to impeach Trump over his call to the Ukraine prime minister in December of 2019 while Trump was still president. 

Ohio Republicans voted to censure Gonzalez for his impeachment vote and called for his resignation. 

Gonzalez cites 'toxic dynamics' of GOP

Gonzalez pointed to the dysfunction within the Republican Party as a major factor in his decision to not seek re-election.

“Given the political realities of the day, I know this news will come as a disappointment to those who have been involved in our efforts,” Gonzalez wrote in his statement. “You have given me and my family tremendous strength and courage in the face of much adversity these past few months and years. Please know that every word has meant the world to me and given me hope that the chaotic political environment that currently infects our country will only be temporary. While my desire to build a fuller family life is at the heart of my decision, it is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decision.”

Gonzalez told The New York Times that his family had to be escorted through the airport in the weeks and months after he voted to impeach the former president. 

Mr. Gonzalez said that quality-of-life issues had been paramount in his decision. He recounted an “eye-opening” moment this year: when he and his family were greeted at the Cleveland airport by two uniformed police officers, part of extra security precautions taken after the impeachment vote.

“That’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Is this really what I want for my family when they travel, to have my wife and kids escorted through the airport?’” he said.

Gonzalez is currently in the middle of his second term in Congress. He was first elected in 2018 when he ran for an open seat vacated by Jim Renacci. Gonzalez scored 57% of the vote in his first election. 

He was set to face a primary challenge ahead of the 2022 general election from Max Miller, a candidate who Trump has endorsed. 

Ohio losing House seat

Ohio won't have 16 house seats in 2023. The state lost a seat after the 2020 Census was tabulated and will have 15 congressional districts after redistricting is done. Ohio lost a seat — and an electoral vote — because of its slow population growth relative to the rest of the country. 

Gonzalez's current district has approximately 720,000 people and runs from the west suburbs of Cleveland south and makes a horseshoe around Akron. 

Gonzalez had nearly 1,300 yards at Ohio State

Gonzalez scored 13 TDs and had 87 catches for 1,286 yards in three seasons with the Buckeyes. His best season came in 2006 when he had 51 catches for 734 yards and eight touchdowns.

He was taken with the final pick of the first round in the 2007 NFL draft by the Colts. His NFL career was short-lived. Gonzalez played in just 11 more regular-season games due to injuries after he had 57 catches for 664 yards and four touchdowns in 2008. His NFL career ended with 99 career catches for 1,307 yards and seven touchdowns.

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