Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar is facing attacks from an atypical group in his reelection bid: his own family.
Six of Gosar’s nine brothers and sisters have endorsed his Democratic opponent, Dr. David Brill, and appeared in Brill’s campaign videos discussing their brother. One video shows his siblings saying that the Arizona Republican isn’t working for the people, another, titled “A family defends its honor,” features them discussing the decision to speak out against Gosar and urging voters to vote against him in November. Another focuses on health care.
This isn’t the only example of family members speaking out against candidates in the 2018 midterms — Randy Bryce, the Democratic candidate to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin, has been hit with a Republican attack ad featuring his brother, James Bryce. But the sheer number of siblings speaking out against Gosar is unique.
“None of this is pleasant for any of us,” David Gosar, a lawyer, says in the “A family defends its honor” video.
“This isn’t just about Paul, this is about family,” Jennifer Gosar, a medical interpreter, says in the same video.
“It’s intervention time,” says Tim Gosar, a private investigator. “And intervention time means that you go vote, and you go to vote Paul out.”
The videos have brought to the surface some evidently significant family divisions — and inspired reactions from Rep. Gosar.
“You can’t pick your family,” he tweeted after the videos were released on Friday, adding, “To the six angry Democrat Gosars — see you at Mom and Dad’s house!”
You can’t pick your family. We all have crazy aunts and relatives etc and my family is no different. I hope they find peace in their hearts and let go all the hate.
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) September 22, 2018
In another tweet, he called his siblings “liberal Democrats who hate President Trump” and “disgruntled” Hillary Clinton supporters.
My siblings who chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President Trump. These disgruntled Hillary suppporters are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Stalin would be proud. #Az04 #MAGA2018
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) September 22, 2018
Gosar, who represents Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave. David Gosar, his brother, told the Washington Post that’s around the time they stopped speaking, when Paul Gosar told him that he believed the “birther” theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, you have to be kidding me,’ and then he went and got elected,” David Gosar told the Post. “I’m not going to break bread with a racist.”
David Gosar told the New York Times that he keeps his Twitter account for the sole purpose of admonishing his brother. It’s that Twitter account that caught the Brill campaign’s attention.
“None of us are doing this for publicity,” he told the Phoenix New Times. “None of us even want to do it.”
The Gosar family’s mother is not loving this
The internet has delighted in the Gosar family feud, but one person not enjoying it is the siblings’ 85-year-old mother, Bernadette Gosar, who lives in Wyoming. She apparently learned of the videos when contacted about them by the New York Times and told the publication she was “shocked” and “crushed” by the situation.
She said that she has a “wonderful family” but clarified that, politically, she’s with Paul. “He’s done a hell of a job for Arizona, and they love him,” she said.
Rep. Gosar is an immigration hardliner. In January, he made headlines when he tweeted that he had contacted the US Capitol Police and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask that they arrest undocumented immigrants attending President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. Some Democratic lawmakers had invited two dozen young unauthorized immigrants, often referred to as DREAMers, to the speech.
Today, Congressman Paul Gosar contacted the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking they consider checking identification of all attending the State of the Union address and arresting any illegal aliens in attendance.
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) January 30, 2018
As the Times notes, seven of Gosar’s brothers and sisters previously wrote a letter to a local Arizona newspaper condemning his suggestion in a Vice News interview that a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year was organized by an “Obama sympathizer” and funded by billionaire George Soros.
It’s not clear whether his siblings’ public opposition have hurt Gosar’s chances at winning in November. Gosar won more than 70 percent of his district’s vote in 2016, and Cook Political Report rates the district as solid Republican.