Ohio has trended toward Republicans in recent years, with Trump winning the state handily in both in 2016 and 2020. But the vote to call for Gonzalez’s resignation highlights just how tied to Trump many Ohio Republicans have become, a significant shift for the once more moderate state party.
Ohio Republicans had planned to vote on censuring Gonzalez and the other House Republicans on Friday, but a resolution to call for Gonzalez’s resignation was first introduced during the meeting, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Republican Party told CNN, and was then passed by the central committee.
The resignation call is a blow for Gonzalez, a former wide receiver for the Ohio State Buckeyes, who was also censured or publicly scolded by county Republican parties in the wake of the vote.
The decision to censure Gonzalez was cheered by the Republican Senate candidates in Ohio, many of whom have made their allegiance to Trump central to their campaigns.
“From day one, I have strongly supported efforts to censure and expel traitor Congressmen like Anthony Gonzalez who voted to impeach President Trump,” said candidate Josh Mandel, who went on to knock one of his opponents, former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken, for waffling on her support for Gonzalez after his vote.
Timken, too, heralded the censure vote on Friday.
“As President Trump’s hand-picked Party Chair who traveled 150,000 miles across Ohio supporting his agenda, I fully agree with the censure of Anthony Gonzalez,” she tweeted. “The impeachment was a sham that betrayed the Constitution and went against Ohioans’ interests.”
Ohio Democrats cheered the fact that their Republican counterparts were attacking each other on Friday, with Matt Keyes, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party, arguing that the infighting was just a “small glimpse of the dysfunction and division we’re set to see within the Republican party within the months and years ahead.”