COLUMBUS – Ohio Republican Party leaders called on Rep. Anthony Gonzalez to step down to vote against former President Donald Trump.
On Friday, the party executive called Gonzalez, R-Rocky River, to step down in a split vote. They also voted to reprimand Gonzalez and nine other members of Congress for “their votes in support of the unconstitutional, politically motivated impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump”.
Gonzalez was one of ten Republicans charged with inciting an attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that killed five people. After Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice, he is the third to be censored for voting by his state party.
Gonzalez took part in the vote with the four members of the Democratic House in Ohio. None of the other 11 Republicans in Ohio voted to indict Trump.
That decision distanced Gonzalez from other Republicans in Ohio, where Trump won 8 percentage points in 2016 and 2020. He won a major antagonist in former White House aide Max Miller, whom Trump supported.
Gonzalez became an easy mark in the U.S. Senate race as candidates like former treasurer Josh Mandel and former GOP leader Jane Timken try to prove their Trump credentials.
Mandel has criticized Timken for failing to admonish Gonzalez immediately after Trump’s impeachment.
“From day one, I have strongly supported efforts to blame and expel traitorous Congressmen like Anthony Gonzalez who voted for the indictment against President Trump,” Mandel said in a statement.
Timken said in a Friday tweet that she “totally agreed” with the criticism. “The impeachment was a fraud that betrayed the constitution and went against the interests of the Ohioans.”
However, not everyone was on board with the public reprimand. Governor Mike DeWine declined to comment when asked about the GOP votes in Ohio on Friday. He said he had previously incriminated Gonzalez. In mid-March, DeWine said Gonzalez should not resign, adding, “He chose his conscience. He made that call. That was his decision. “
Senator Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, opposed the Ohio GOP rulings
“While I disagreed with his impeachment votes, Anthony is a friend and a dedicated official,” Portman said. “We Republicans should focus on uniting against the Biden administration’s trillions on proposed new spending programs and tax hikes to cut jobs.”
Party of Trump
The vote on Friday underscores the dramatic development of the Ohio GOP in recent years.
In 2015, the Ohio Republican Party backed former Governor John Kasich’s presidential bid for a number of GOP candidates, including Trump. When Kasich won the state’s GOP primary (his only national victory), Kasich’s delegates attended the Republican National Congress in Cleveland with a distinct “Ohio Against the World” vibe.
But in 2017, Trump helped install Timken as the Ohio Republican Party leader over Kasich’s election Matt Borges. When Timken chose to run for the U.S. Senate, the Ohio GOP selected former Trump Ohio campaign manager Bob Paduchik to replace them. Paduchik’s key pitch: Trump wants me to lead this party.
Ultimately, Friday’s vote was a test of loyalty to the leadership of the state party that has increasingly become Trump’s party.
Paduchik said members of Congress have the right to choose how they choose, but “this committee also has the right to stand on principles and beliefs.”
Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Matt Keyes called the votes “a glimpse into the dysfunction and division” in the GOP.
“While GOP politicians are busy attacking each other for cheap political points, the Ohio Democrats are focused on listening to voters and fighting for their priorities,” he said in a statement.
Who Should Ohio GOP Support?
The party originally intended to vote on criticism, but Shannon Burns, president of the Strongsville GOP in Gonzalez’s district, suggested taking the complaint one step further. He called for Gonzalez to resign because he had betrayed his constituents and had “hidden vengeance” against Trump.
“Gonzalez drew on emotional conclusions that put President Trump, the President of Law and Order and America First, at fault,” the resolution said. “We believe Congressman Gonzalez knowingly and willfully violated his oath of office.”
That sentiment took hold, although some Republicans expressed concern about the move, saying Gonzalez could win his primary and that voters should decide his political fate.
The vote contrasted with the party’s long history of favoring incumbents over newcomers. For most years, Gonzalez scored the party’s nod over Miller. Gonzalez is known for his time with the Ohio State University soccer team and the Indianapolis Colts.
“We’re supposed to support all Republican candidates when they’re running for office and we could get into a situation where we did this to Rep. Gonzalez and maybe it’s deserved, but where are we after that?” asked committee member Mary O’Toole. “When do we start voting?”
Committee member Mark Bainbridge disagreed, saying, “We should only support people who we believe have the integrity to be in the office. For example, if one of our agents commits a crime or illegal act, we would support that person “Wouldn’t we call for him to resign? Of course we would.”
Meanwhile, the party has taken no action to reprimand Rep. Larry Householder, R-Glenford, who is accused of organizing a nearly $ 61 million bribery program to get a $ 1 billion bailout Adopt and defend US dollars. The head of household has pleaded not guilty. Borges was also charged in this case and has pleaded not guilty.
After Householder’s arrest, then Chairman Timken and other Republican officials urged him to resign from the Ohio House of Representatives. The House Republicans removed Householder as their leader, but did not expel him from the Chamber.
Reporter Chris Mayhew contributed to this article.