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Rep. Anthony Gonzalez facing likelihood of multiple GOP challengers in 2022 primary

Gonzalez's vote to impeach President Trump last month triggered a firestorm of negative reactions among local GOP leaders.

CLEVELAND — In Washington D.C., Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) continues to work.

On Monday, the second-term congressman announced his intention to reintroduce his END Child Exploitation Act, which would give law enforcement agencies needed investigative tools to respond to the crime of child sexual abuse material being posted online.

Back home in Northeast Ohio, there are forces plotting against Gonzalez, who made a name for himself last month as one of ten Republican House members who voted to impeach former President Trump for his role in the Capitol riot on January 6.

While local GOP organizations have censured the 36-year-old Gonzalez and called for his resignation, there is the growing likelihood that more than one Republican will vie to unseat the former Ohio State and NFL star next year in the primary for the 16th Ohio Congressional District. 

Earlier this month, 26-year-old Jonah Schulz announced his intention to run against Gonzalez next year. Schulz lost his bid to be the Republican challenger against Marcia Fudge in Ohio's 11th Congressional District last year.

"In his time in office, Gonzalez has stood idly by while Americans saw their businesses destroyed and their individual liberties stripped from their hands. Anthony Gonzalez has cheered on mask mandates, praised Governor Mike DeWine’s unconstitutional lockdown measures, voted to send hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid during a pandemic and most recently sided with the radical left to impeach President Trump over a false charge just days before the end of his term," Schulz wrote in a Facebook post announcing his candidacy.

Meanwhile on Monday, Politico reported that Northeast Ohio native and former White House staffer Max Miller is expected to also challege Gonzalez in the primary next year.

The 32-year-old Miller served as director of advance and also worked in the office of presidential personnel in President Trump's administration. He then joined Trump's 2020 reelection campaign, where he served as deputy campaign manager for presidential operations. Miller is the grandson of Cleveland business and real estate executive Sam Miller, who passed away in 2019.

According to Politico, Miller recently purchased a house in Rocky River, which is within the 16th Congressional District. Also, a person familiar with the planning for Miller’s expected campaign said that he’s received six figures in commitments from donors, but that he would have the personal resources to provide self-financing if necessary.

The Canton Repository also is reporting that Christina Hagan, who Gonzalez defeated in the 2018 GOP primary, has not ruled out jumping into the race.

"It’s important to see where the district lines are and regardless of who runs and what those lines look like I will always work to be a champion for the conservative ideals of Northeast Ohio. Our decision will be based off of prayer, people being served and how we can make the most meaningful impact for our community," Hagan told the Repository.

Earlier this month, the Strongsville GOP called on Gonzalez to resign as a result of his vote to impeach Trump. "Based on media interviews, it is obvious that Congressman Gonzales relied on his emotions rather than the will of his constituents or any credible facts or conclusions surrounding the riot event, at best – at worst, he demonstrated a hidden vendetta against President Donald J. Trump in direct conflict of the will of the constituents that elected him and, indeed, the will of Strongsville GOP," said the grassroots Republican organization.

In addition, Gonzalez was censured by the Medina County Republican Party.

Editor's Note: The below story aired on January 14, 2021

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