INDIANAPOLIS — Anthony Gonzalez is headed to our nation’s capital.
The former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver on Tuesday held off challenger Susan Moran Palmer to serve as Congressman for Ohio’s 16th District.
Gonzalez, a Republican, is a newcomer to politics, but the results from Tuesday’s election certainly didn’t show it; he ran away with about 57 percent of the vote, while Palmer, the Democratic challenger, garnered about 43 percent.
Gonzalez will replace incumbent Republican Jim Renacci, who lost in his bid to defeat Democrat Sherrod Brown for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio.
“Thank You!” Gonzalez wrote in a statement on his website Tuesday night. “It is with deep humility and gratitude that I accept the awesome responsibility of representing the 16th district in the 116th Congress.”
Gonzalez’s popularity in Ohio was sparked back in high school, when he was a standout football and track athlete at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. He would go on to star at Ohio State in Columbus, where he was named First Team All-Big Ten Conference in 2006 after catching 51 passes for 734 yards and eight touchdowns.
After a strong performance in the NFL Scouting Combine, the Colts — who were fresh off their Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears — selected Gonzalez with the 32nd-overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He would go on to catch a combined 94 passes for 1,240 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two seasons before knee injuries would significantly slow down his career.
Gonzalez retired from the NFL prior to the 2012 season.
After earning his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Gonzalez last August filed to run for Congress in his home state of Ohio, earning financial backing from the likes of former Colts teammates Peyton Manning and Austin Collie, as well as Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, according to The Plain Dealer.
Now he’s headed to Washington, D.C., where he says his commitment “is to be a voice for the enduring values that have inspired every generation of Americans since our founding days.”
“It will be with an unyielding respect for the universal dignity and common humanity of every American that I will walk through any door to work on behalf of Northeast Ohio — our families and our workers,” Gonzalez wrote on Tuesday.