Gonzalez, despite crossing Trump, was not dead in the water. He had been out-raising Max Miller, a former Trump White House aide endorsed by the former president. Miller has heavy baggage of his own. And with the primary not scheduled to take place until next year, at least some Ohio Republicans did not view the outcome as a foregone conclusion.
“Every political consultant and candidate around the country is looking for a way to measure how much Trump’s endorsement would matter in a Republican primary going forward,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, a Republican strategist based in Ohio. “Who would’ve won a primary between a well-funded incumbent like Anthony Gonzalez and a Trump-backed candidate like Max Miller would have provided great data for that question.”
Former Republican Rep. Jim Renacci, the Ohio lawmaker Gonzalez replaced, said Trump’s endorsement no doubt was “powerful.” But Gonzalez, he said, had “the power of incumbency.”
Renacci said what he heard from people in the district following Gonzalez’s announcement was that Gonzalez was “a quitter.”