By Peter Szekely
(Reuters) – If there is a gathering of Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar’s family this holiday season, there should be plenty to talk about after six of the Republican’s nine siblings endorsed his Democratic opponent.
In videos scheduled to begin airing on Arizona cable television on Sunday, the four-term conservative was peppered with rebukes from three brothers and three sisters, who urged voters to elect Democrat David Brill.
“Paul’s absolutely not working for his district,” said attorney David Gosar in one of the videos posted on Brill’s campaign website. “We’ve got to stand up for our good name. This is not who we are.”
“I couldn’t be quiet any longer, nor should any of us be,” said Grace Gosar, a doctor. “Paul Gosar, the congressman, isn’t doing anything to help rural America.”
Some of his other siblings — Jennifer, Joan, Tim and Gaston — said they were backing Brill, also a physician, because their brother had lost the values they grew up with in Wyoming. They said he was not fighting to strengthen Social Security retirement, nor to improve access to health care in his rural district.
Congressman Gosar, a dentist before he went into politics and a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, was quick to fire back, calling his siblings Trump-hating liberal Democrats.
“These disgruntled Hillary (Clinton) supporters are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family,” he wrote on Twitter. “Stalin would be proud.”
The congressman also raised the prospect of a holiday season family gathering, quipping, “To the six angry Democrat Gosars — see you at Mom and Dad’s house!”
Bernadette Gosar, the siblings’ 85-year-old mother, told The New York Times she was “shocked” and “crushed” when she heard about the campaign videos made by the Gosar children for Brill, who she said “doesn’t have a chance” to beat her son.
“I share the same philosophy and policies that Paul does,” the newspaper quoted her as saying. “He’s done a hell of a job for Arizona, and they love him.”
Gosar, who has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 93.71 out of 100, noted on his campaign website that seven of his siblings are Democrats, one is a Republican and one is an independent. His brother Pete, a Democrat who did not participate in the Brill campaign videos, ran unsuccessfully for Wyoming governor in 2014.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis)