GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Anthony Gonzalez
Ohio Republican Anthony Gonzalez announced Thursday he won't seek reelection in 2022, citing a "chaotic" political environment and a political party which he said had become "toxic."
"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, 36, said in a statement.
He added that kind words from his supporters have given him "hope that the chaotic political environment that currently infects our country will only be temporary."
Gonzalez is one of 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump for inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (Trump was acquitted by the Senate's Republican majority and said he did nothing wrong.)
Gonzalez, a retired professional football player who attended Ohio State University, would have faced off in the next election against Max Miller, a former Trump aide whom the former president has endorsed as he seeks revenge on the conservatives who broke with him.
See my full statement below regarding my decision not to seek re-election. pic.twitter.com/vsggxjD1FI
— Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (@RepAGonzalez) September 17, 2021
Following Gonzalez's announcement that he would not seek reelection, Trump released his own statement in which he labeled the Congressman a "RINO" (Republican in name only) and said, "This is no loss for Ohio or our Country and, most importantly, we have a great candidate who was substantially leading Gonzalez in the polls, Max Miller, who I have given my Complete and Total Endorsement."
Despite Trump's statement, Gonzalez had already out-raised Miller prior to announcing he would be leaving Congress.
Speaking to The New York Times, Gonzalez suggested he could have won the election — but still wouldn't have been happy as a result.
"You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not," he told the paper.
Gonzalez added that Trump was a "cancer for the country" telling the Times: "I don't believe he can ever be president again. Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal."
Jill Colvin/AP/Shutterstock Donald Trump
In January, Gonzalez was the eighth GOP representative to publicly back impeachment after the insurrection, releasing a statement as he cast his vote.
"The president of the United States helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties as prescribed by the Constitution," he said then. "When I consider the full scope of events leading up to January 6th including the president's lack of response as the United States Capitol was under attack, I am compelled to support impeachment. "