Campaign

Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote

Republican Ohio Senate candidate Jane Timken called Monday for GOP Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez to resign over his vote last month to impeach former President Trump for inciting the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. 

In a statement, Timken, the former chair of the Ohio GOP, accused Gonzalez of siding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the impeachment charges, claiming that his vote had "undermined his ability to effectively represent" his constituents in Ohio's solidly Republican 16th District.

"It is clear Congressman Gonzalez's wrongful decision to vote with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to impeach President Trump has undermined his ability to effectively represent the people of the 16th district," Timken said. "Gonzalez should immediately resign so the Republican Party can unify behind new, conservative leadership for the 16th district."

"President Trump is the leader of our Party and we must have conservative leaders committed to the team if we are going to keep Ohio red and win back majorities in the U.S. House and Senate in 2022," she added. "Gonzalez should put his constituents and the Republican Party first by resigning from Congress."

A spokesperson for Gonzalez declined to comment on Timken's remarks. 

Timken's demand comes days after Trump endorsed his former aide Max Miller, who on Friday launched a campaign to unseat Gonzalez. 

"Max Miller is a wonderful person who did a great job at the White House and will be a fantastic Congressman," Trump said in a statement through his leadership PAC Save America. "He is a Marine Veteran, a son of Ohio, and a true PATRIOT."

"Current Rep. Anthony Gonzalez should not be representing the people of the 16th district because he does not represent their interest or their heart," the former president added. "Max Miller has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Gonzalez, a second-term congressman and former professional football player, was one of 10 Republican House members who voted last month to impeach Trump for inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol as Congress met to certify President Biden's Electoral College victory.

At the time, Gonzalez said that the president's actions had put the lives of lawmakers and former Vice President Mike Pence "in grave danger." 

The Jan. 6 mayhem left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.

Timken, who's from Gonzalez's district, took a softer line on Gonzalez's impeachment vote in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer last month, saying that she didn't necessarily agree with his decision, but that he has been an "effective legislator."

"He's my congressman. I think he's been a very effective legislator," she told the newspaper. "I don't know if I would have voted the way he did [on impeaching Trump]. I think he's spending some time explaining to folks his vote, and I think he's got a rational reason why he voted that way. I think he's an effective legislator, and he's a very good person."

The Senate voted last month to acquit Trump on the incitement charges, though seven Senate Republicans crossed the aisle to vote against the former president, making it the most bipartisan vote for impeachment conviction in U.S history.

Timken became the second prominent Republican last month to enter what is expected to become a crowded primary field to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Former state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) announced his bid for Portman's seat days before Timken, marking his third run for the Senate after losing to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in 2012 and ending a 2018 bid early due to family health matters.

Another prospective Republican candidate, Mike Gibbons, resigned from his role at the conservative super PAC Ohio Strong Action last week, saying that he would make a final decision on a Senate bid "in the next few weeks."

Other potential GOP candidates include Rep. Steve Stivers (R) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. 

Mandel's campaign criticized Timken in a statement on Monday, accusing her of hardening her position on Gonzalez "now that it's politically convenient."

"Josh has consistently opposed Rep. Gonzalez's impeachment vote, while Jane Timken has pulled a classic establishment move by changing her position based on how the political winds are blowing," the campaign said.

Trump is likely to be a powerful force in the primary. The former president carried Ohio in both 2016 and 2020, and since leaving office in January he has signaled plans to campaign against Republicans whom he sees as having crossed him. 

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, Trump said that he would work to "elect tough, strong and smart Republican leaders," while campaigning against so-called Republicans in name only, or "RINOs."

"The RINOs that we're surrounded with will destroy the Republican Party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself," he said.

--Updated at 4:38 p.m.

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