'It ain’t gonna be pretty': Trump staking his reputation on taking out key Republican
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The belief that Donald Trump will become the Republican Party's kingmaker since his re-election loss will be put to the test in a key Ohio district in 2022's midterm election reports Politico.

As Republicans flock to Trump Mar-a-Lago resort to court the former president for both his endorsement and support from his cash-flush PAC, Trump is reportedly focused on seeking retribution against any Republican in the House or Senate who voted to impeach him just prior to the 2020 re-election.

In Ohio, Trump's GOP target is Rep. Anthony Gonzalez who has amassed a war chest of his own and will likely face a Trump-anointed primary challenger with a thin resume other than a Trump endorsement and a wealthy family.

"In a normal political world and in a normal political time, a second-generation Cuban-American former NFL player from the Rust Belt with an MBA from Stanford would be considered practically by definition a rising GOP star," Politico's Michael Kruse wrote. "But Gonzalez's impeachment decision made him a traitor in the eyes of the man who is manifestly the unofficial leader of the party. It's the reason Trump wasted no time endorsing Max Miller—a former aide with next to no name ID plus an arrest record—to try to take out Gonzalez. And it's why the 16th District of Ohio is now a singular early battlefield in the former president's intensifying intraparty war."

While one Trump-aligned political consultant stated, "Max is going to beat the hell out of Anthony," others who live in the district say not so fast.

"As battlefields go, Ohio as a whole is more red than purple, and so is the 16th District—but it's replete as well with warning signs for Trump that his quest for retaliation might succeed only in further tearing the party apart," Kruse wrote. " [Miller] is an electoral novice and the scion of a wealthy, politically connected family from the opposite side of Cleveland in a city in which many believe that divide still matters. And since he announced his bid, his critics say, he's been hanging around the Trump stronghold of Southeast Florida more conspicuously than he's been out and about in Northeast Ohio."

According to Gonzalez ally, the incumbent is not going to go down without a fight, saying, "It ain't gonna be pretty. It's just not."

With Kruse writing, "All of this makes Ohio's 16th worth watching as an early, distilled look at the potential limits and pitfalls of Trump's shoot-first, aim-later style, his personality-driven, fealty-fueled, viscerally scattershot politics of retribution," David Pepper, the former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, added, "It's a perfect example of how Trump could really hurt not just the near term but the future of the Republican Party. It's all about a loyalty test to him that almost will put targets on the backs of some of their best people."

As for Miller's arrest record, Politico reports, "He was charged with assault and disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in 2007 after a fight in which he punched another man in the back of the head and ran from police. He pleaded no contest to a pair of misdemeanors, and the case was dismissed on account of a program for first offenders. He was charged with underage drinking in 2009, the case dismissed due to the same program. And he was charged with disorderly conduct in 2010 following a fight after leaving a hookah bar in the wee hours in which he bloodied his wrist by punching a glass door," which is sure to become a central theme in Gonzalez's campaign

You can read more about the battle between the two here.