Anthony Gonzalez, a former wide receiver for Ohio State University and later the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL, is weighing a run for Congress in Ohio’s 16th District, sources told Cleveland.com.
The seat will likely be up for grabs as Republican Rep. Jim Renacci, who has occupied it since 2010, plans a run to replace term-limited Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Gonzalez has met with the National Republican Congressional Committee to convey his intent to run, though he has not yet made any public announcement.
A Republican source close to him said he is “seriously considering a run, and is close to making a decision,” Cleveland.com reported.
Gonzalez would square off against a field of seasoned Republican state lawmakers in the primary next May, including Reps. Christina Hagan and Tom Patton.
Ohio’s 16th District spans Wayne County in northeastern Ohio and five other counties, including some in the eastern suburbs of Akron, and has been firmly within the GOP grasp since the 1960s.
Donald Trump won the district by nearly 17 points in 2016, and Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama by eight points in 2012, according to calculations by Daily KOS Elections. Trump’s success could have implications on the 2018 House race, as candidates try to align with or differentiate from the president.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzalez rates the race Solid Republican.
Gonzalez, 32, has soared in the business world since his retirement from the NFL in 2011. He earned his MBA from Stanford University in 2014 and was chief operating officer of Chalk Schools in San Francisco before moving back to Ohio.
He played high school football in Cleveland before starring at wideout for a Buckeyes outfit that lost the NCAA national championship to the University of Florida in 2007. He was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts that spring but struggled to stay on the field due to a series of injuries.
Gonzalez is descended from Cuban-American immigrants who fled the country after Fidel Castro deposed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
Gonzales could not be reached for comment.