Former NFL wide receiver wins GOP primary in Ohio

Former NFL wide receiver wins GOP primary in Ohio
© Getty Images

Former NFL wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez won his GOP congressional primary on Tuesday, a big boost for establishment Republicans who had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to help him win in the red-leaning district.

Gonzalez defeated state Rep. Christina Hagan by a 13-point margin in the primary for the Ohio 16th Congressional District. Gonzalez will move on to the general election against Democrat Susan Moran Palmer, with the Republican heavily favored in a district President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE won by 17 points in 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT

Gonzalez is well known among fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team — his late-game reception against the Michigan Wolverines, the Buckeyes's bitter rivals, in 2005 helped clinch the game and a spot for Gonzalez in Ohio State lore.

He entered his first congressional race as the favorite, outraising Hagan by an almost 3-to-1 margin during the campaign. And he got a late boost from the Chamber of Commerce, which spent $300,000 on his behalf.

But Hagan ran hard to Gonzalez's right, framing herself as an ardent supporter of President Trump. Along the way, she won the backing of Trump allies like former White House communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciFormer DeVos chief of staff joins anti-Trump group Scaramucci to Lemon: Trump 'doubling down' on downplaying virus 'should scare' viewers Sunday shows - Leaked audio of Trump's sister reverberates MORE as well as top conservatives like Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - GOP closes ranks to fill SCOTUS vacancy by November House moves toward spending vote after bipartisan talks House Democrats mull delay on spending bill vote MORE (R-N.C.), Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse panel pulls Powell into partisan battles over pandemic Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election House passes resolution condemning anti-Asian discrimination relating to coronavirus MORE (R-Ohio) and the Family Research Council.

Gonzalez will face Palmer in November's general election for outgoing Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciOhio is suddenly a 2020 battleground Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Medicare for All won't deliver what Democrats promise MORE's (R) seat.

Renacci won the Republican primary for Senate on Tuesday and will square off with incumbent Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHarris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle Remote work poses state tax challenges Senate Democrats release report alleging Trump admin undermined fair housing policies MORE (D) in November.