Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs retires abruptly, blames fight over maps
DOVER (WJER) (April 7, 2022) – Bob Gibbs says he still wants to fight the policies of President Joe Biden’s administration but overcoming a drastic shift in his congressional district seems like too much to overcome.
The 68-year-old Republican Congressman announced Wednesday he was dropping out of the 7th District race. He plans to finish out his term this year.
Gibbs had represented the area since 2011, never losing an election.
However, in a phone interview with WJER Thursday morning, Gibbs, who lives in Holmes County, says the latest maps in the state redistricting “debacle” put him in a district that keeps only 10 percent of his old one. It doesn’t include Tuscarawas County but does have some Cleveland area suburbs.
“This past Monday night I decided that I wasn’t going to run,” Gibbs said. “It’s just too much trouble in a short window here before the primary May 3 to try and go and meet all those new constituents and do all that campaigning, so I just decided I’m at the age I can retire and do something else.
“This district that they drew in this last map is almost 90 percent of it is new electorate, new constituents to the 7th Congressional District. About two-thirds of it is an area that was carved out of another district that was up in Cuyahoga County, the suburbs of Cleveland, that don’t really have connection with the current 7th District.”
Gibbs says only 3 1/2 townships from Holmes County are in the proposed district.
“It’s also interesting: I have two other Congressional districts on this map within a mile and a half of my house. That’s just unbelievable.”
He called the actions of the Supreme Court in the redistricting process irresponsible and despicable. The court continues to rule the maps are gerrymandered in favor of Republicans.
Gibbs said he had considered retiring last year but decided to run to keep fighting the “disaster” created by the “progressive, liberal, socialist policies” of Congressional Democrats.
“I wanted to be in the fight, but when they did this district with nearly 90 percent new and the dynamics of it, it didn’t make a lot of sense for me to pursue that,” he said. “I just decided I guess it is time to retire. Twelve years is a good time to do it.”
Primary would have put Gibbs against Trump-endorsed candidate
The latest map also has Gibbs in a primary against Max Miller, a former aide to Donald Trump who has the former president’s endorsement.
Gibbs says that played a little bit into his decision.
Trump’s endorsement came when Miller would have been running against Anthony Gonzales, who voted to impeach trump. Gonzales has since dropped out.
“I think [Trump] got some bad advice,” Gibbs said. “He shouldn’t have made such an effort before redistricting because he didn’t know what was going to happen. We didn’t know what the district was going to be. Maybe he’s got a little remorse about that, getting out so fast.”
Trump issued a statement commending Gibbs on a “a wonderful and accomplished career.” Gibbs says he’s always supported trump’s policies.
“The president … does support me,” Gibbs said. “He went with that endorsement, and that’s just what he’s going to do, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that endorsement was to run against Anthony Gonzalez in a different district. It’s just how it worked out.”
Gibbs says he doesn’t plan to get involved in the primary.
“Most likely I won’t be supporting anybody in the primary because I have never met any of them,” he said.
Gibbs says he’s retiring but will look for other opportunities to help the country.
“I’m not looking for a full-time job or anything like that, but we’ll see what doors open,” he said. “I think I do have things to offer yet and I’m really concerned about the direction this country is on. I think we’ll get the majority back in Congress, and they’ll be able to stop a lot of things that this administration wants to do that are bad for America.”