Six siblings of a Republican congressman from Arizona seeking re-election in November’s midterms have publicly endorsed his Democratic opponent — all but ensuring an awkward Thanksgiving family dinner this year.
Paul Gosar, who first entered Congress in 2011 with the backing of the populist Tea Party movement and is known for his hardline views on immigration, is odds-on favorite to retain his seat in the rural, conservative state when he faces Democrat David Brill this fall.
But that hasn’t stopped six of his nine brothers and sisters from featuring in a series of videos released Friday for the Brill campaign, drawing surprised and bemused reactions as the family feud plays out across national media.
In one of the ads, entitled: “Paul Gosar Is Not Working For You,” the siblings are introduced by only their first name and profession as they take turns to lay out the case against him.
“If (Arizona voters) care about healthcare, they care about their children’s healthcare, they would hold him to account,” says physician Grace.
Lawyer David adds: “He’s not listening to you, he doesn’t have your interests at heart.”
Their last names and identities are finally disclosed in a “reveal” toward the end, before candidate Brill closes out the video to say he approved the message.
In a second video, called “A Family Defends Its Honor,” the siblings say that speaking up against their brother is personally difficult, but they feel compelled to stand up for what is right.
The congressman hit back on Twitter on Saturday, comparing his siblings to slavish supporters of Soviet despot Joseph Stalin.
– Mom’s favorite? –
“My siblings who chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President (Donald) Trump,” he wrote.
“These disgruntled Hillary supporters are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Stalin would be proud.”
In another tweet, he complained: “We all have crazy aunts and relatives etc and my family is no different,” before adding: “To the six angry Democrat Gosars-see you at Mom and Dad’s house!”
He also approvingly shared a New York Times report that quoted his 85-year-old mother Bernadette Gosar saying she believes in “the same philosophy and policies that Paul does,” leading the congressman to gloat: “I guess I really am Mom’s favorite!”
It is not the first time the Gosar family’s political disagreements have spilled out in the open.
Last year, seven of the siblings wrote a stinging letter to the Daily Miner, a local Arizona newspaper, after Gosar suggested the white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville was orchestrated by George Soros, a liberal billionaire and backer of progressive causes.
Gosar also made headlines earlier this year when he called on police and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to check the immigration status of protesters attending President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in January.
Democrats are hoping for a strong showing in the November 6 vote, when all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs, along with 35 seats in the 100-member Senate and more than 30 gubernatorial spots.
Republicans currently hold majorities in both the House and the Senate. Democrats are hoping that a “blue wave” will propel them to victory in the House, and the latest polls give them a good chance of doing so.
Gosar, however, can probably rest easy: political forecasting site FiveThirtyEight currently gives his opponent a less than one percent chance of an upset victory.