The 2018 midterm elections are a wrap and former athletes running for congressional seats in the House of Representatives and within their state governing bodies fared quite well on Tuesday. Here’s how it turned out for 10 former pros:
Colin Allred, D, Texas 32nd congressional district
Allred was an NFL linebacker with the Tennessee Titans for four years after playing his college football at Baylor. Now a lawyer, he served on the Obama administration and was endorsed by Obama himself. He unseated 11-term incumbent Pete Sessions in the 32nd, a surprising flip. Allred played in 32 career NFL games (how fitting) and logged 41 tackles in his career.
Sharice Davids, D, Kansas 3rd congressional district
Sharice Davids also flipped a House of Representatives seat to blue, unseating Kansas’ Kevin Yoder. Davids was an MMA fighter who tried out for “The Ultimate Fighter,” a reality show in which the winner gets a UFC contract. Davids made history on numerous levels on Tuesday, becoming both the first LGBTQ representative in Kansas and the first Native American woman in Congress (alongside New Mexico’s Deb Haaland, who also won Tuesday).
Clint Didier, R, Franklin County Commissioner (Washington)
Clint Didier played eight NFL seasons, six with the Washington Redskins and two with the Green Bay Packers. The tight end had 141 catches for 1,923 yards in his NFL career. This was his fifth time running for public office. He ran for Senator in 2010, Washington Commissioner of Public Lands in 2012 and the House of Representatives in 2014 and 2016. On Tuesday, he won the race for Franklin County Commissioner in District 3 in Washington, marking his first political win.
Anthony Gonzalez, R, Ohio 16th congressional district
Anthony Gonzalez played five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts after starring at wide receiver for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and he was able to come out on top in a race with Susan Moran Palmer. Gonzalez had seven touchdowns in his NFL career. A first-round draft pick, Gonzalez had 734 yards and eight touchdowns in his final season with the Buckeyes. Gonzalez’s campaign included donations from Peyton Manning and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.
Adam Greenberg, R, Connecticut 12th district state Senator
Adam Greenberg pursued the former seat of Ted Kennedy Jr., who said in June 2017 that he would not be running for re-election to the state Senate. Greenberg took a hit to the head in his first MLB at-bat, suffering a compound skull fracture. He would get just one more MLB at-bat. Greenberg conceded to Democrat Christine Cohen on Tuesday.
Napoleon Harris, D, Illinois 15th district state Senator
Napoleon Harris has represented Illinois’ 15th district in the state Senate since 2013, when James Meeks retired. Harris played basketball and football at Northwestern, and played seven NFL seasons in which he notched 481 career tackles with the Raiders, Vikings and Chiefs. Harris ran unopposed for the second time, so he’ll represent the 15th district again.
Jim Jordan, R, Ohio 4th congressional district
Jim Jordan wrestled at Wisconsin before becoming an assistant coach at Ohio State from 1986 to 1994. A two-time NCAA Division I champion at Wisconsin and three-time All-American, his tenure as an OSU assistant coach has recently come under fire for allegations that Jordan failed to report sexual abuse from team doctor Richard Strauss. Strauss has been dead since 2005, and Jordan has served since 2007 in the staunchly red district. He also announced a bid for minority leader after Republicans lost the House on Tuesday.
Aaron Rouse, Unaffiliated, Virginia Beach City Council
Former NFL safety Aaron Rouse won an at-large seat on Virginia Beach’s City Council. The ex-Packer played three NFL seasons before choosing this very different career path. Rouse played football at Virginia Tech before going to the NFL. Rouse won one of the two open seats, joining John Moss and beating out four other candidates.
Frank White Jr., D, Jackson County Executive (Mississippi)
Frank White Jr. did not have a Republican opponent for Jackson County Executive, with only Nathan Kline of the Green Party opposing him. Jackson played 18 MLB seasons with the Kansas City Royals, accumulating five All-Star appearances and winning a World Series ring in 1985. He also won an ALCS MVP and eight gold gloves. White won an at-large legislature seat in Jackson in 2014, before being named county executive in 2016 in the wake of Mike Sanders’ retirement. He was re-elected into the position in 2016.
Jesse White, D, Illinois Secretary of State
Jesse White continued his historic run as Illinois Secretary of State, a position he’s held since 1999. White has had the longest tenure of anyone at the position, and he’s the first African American to hold it. It’s his seventh consecutive term. White played in the Chicago Cubs’ minor league system for seven years from 1959 to 1966 as a third baseman. Since then, the 84 year old’s political career has taken precedence.
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