Paul Gosar

Paul Anthony Gosar[2] (/ˈɡsɑːr/ GOH-sarr; born November 22, 1958) is an American politician and former dentist who has served as the U.S. Representative for Arizona's 4th congressional district since 2013. A Republican, he was elected in 2010 to represent the neighboring 1st congressional district until redistricting. Gosar's district is based in Prescott and includes much of rural northwestern Arizona, as well as some outer suburbs of Phoenix.

Paul Gosar
Paul Gosar official portrait September 2016.jpg
Official portrait, 2016
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded byAnn Kirkpatrick
Constituency1st district (2011–2013)
4th district (2013–present)
Personal details
Born
Paul Anthony Gosar

(1958-11-22) November 22, 1958 (age 62)
Rock Springs, Wyoming, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Maude Connor
(m. 1988)
[1]
Children3
EducationCreighton University (BS, DDS)
Websitegosar.house.gov

Gosar has opposed the Affordable Care Act, abortion, most gun control laws, federal protection for endangered species, illegal immigration and legalizing marijuana.

The Arizona Republic has called Gosar "Arizona's most controversial member of Congress".[3] He has been a strong ally of President Donald Trump.[3][4] Six of his nine siblings endorsed his opponent in congressional races. He boycotted Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. over the issue of climate change. Gosar accused certain members of the Department of Justice and the FBI of treason.

Gosar was one of the 139 representatives who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election in Congress on January 7, 2021, the day after the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[5] Gosar later attended the America First Political Action Conference, a white nationalist conference[6][7] whose organizer, Nick Fuentes, spoke approvingly of the Capitol storming.[7]

Early life and education

Gosar was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, on November 27, 1958.[8][9] He is the oldest of the seven sons and three daughters[10][11] born to Antone John Gosar and Bernadette M. (née Erramouspe) Gosar. His paternal grandparents were Slovenian and his maternal grandparents were Basque immigrants from Banca, on the Franco-Spanish border.[12] Gosar was raised in Pinedale, Wyoming, and graduated from Pinedale High School in 1977.[13] His parents have been described as devoted Republicans who attended the national conventions for former presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford. Gosar's brother Pete Gosar is a former chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party and was a candidate for governor of Wyoming in 2010[10][14] and 2014.[15]

In 1981, Gosar received his B.S. from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1985, he earned his D.D.S. from the Boyne School of Dentistry at Creighton.[8]

Early career

From 1989 to 2010, Gosar had a dentistry practice in Flagstaff, Arizona.[8] In 2001, Gosar was the Arizona Dental Association's (AzDA) "Dentist of the Year". He was inducted into the AzDA Hall of Fame and served as its president from 2004 to 2005. Gosar was also president of the Northern Arizona Dental Society and vice-chair of the AzDA council on governmental affairs.[16][17]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2010

In 2009, Gosar, who had never run for elected office before, announced that he would challenge Democratic incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick in the 1st district in the 2010 elections. He was identified as a Tea Party candidate by The New York Times because the Arizona Tea Party featured him on its website.[18]

Gosar won the Republican primary. He was endorsed by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and three Arizona county sheriffs: Maricopa County's Joe Arpaio, Coconino County's Joe Richards, and Pinal County's Paul Babeu.[19] Kirkpatrick challenged him to five debates across the district.[20][21] Gosar initially agreed to one debate, but later withdrew. He released a statement explaining that his decision to withdraw from the debate was based on the long drive to and from the television station, KAET in Phoenix, which had organized the debate,[22] but a producer at KAET said that Gosar's staff had told the station that the candidate could not participate in the debate because he would be attending a fundraiser instead.[23]

Gosar defeated Kirkpatrick in the November 2010 general election, taking 49.7% of the vote.

2012

Gosar initially planned to seek reelection in the 1st district, which had been made less favorable to Republicans as a result of redistricting,[24] but with Kirkpatrick priming for a rematch, he changed his mind and announced in January 2012 that he would run in the newly created 4th district. The 4th had absorbed much of the western portion of the old 1st district, and was heavily Republican. Gosar rented an apartment in Prescott, the largest city in the 4th, which he claims as his official residence.[25] While members of the House are only constitutionally required to live in the state they represent, Gosar claimed he would eventually buy a home in the 4th. But he still claims his home in Flagstaff as his primary residence; he has long received tax breaks on his Flagstaff home due to this status. While he is registered to vote in Yavapai County, home to Prescott, his wife is registered to vote in Coconino County, home to Flagstaff.[26]

Gosar initially faced a tough primary fight against Babeu, but Babeu pulled out in May 2012 due to allegations of abuse of power.[27] Gosar defeated former state senator Ron Gould and businessman Rick Murphy in the Republican primary, all but assuring him a second term in Congress. In the November general election, he defeated Democratic challenger Johnnie Robinson with 67% of the vote.[28]

2014

Gosar easily won reelection, winning 70% of the vote against Democratic nominee Mikel Weisser in the 2014 midterm elections.[29]

2016

Gosar faced Weisser again in 2016. Weisser attempted to use Gosar's support of then-nominee Donald Trump and the recent Access Hollywood tape against him in campaign ads.[30] Gosar was reelected with 71% of the vote.[31]

2018

 
Gosar speaking at the 2018 Arizona Manufacturing Summit in Phoenix, Arizona

In September 2018, six of Gosar's nine siblings spoke out against their brother and endorsed his Democratic opponent, David Brill, in a series of television campaign ads that drew national and international coverage.[32][33] In the first ad, sisters Grace and Jennifer, both identified as health care providers, told viewers that their brother did not care about people in rural Arizona. In another ad, called "A family defends its honor," brother David Gosar, a lawyer, declared, "We've got to stand up for our good name. This is not who we are." Paul Gosar responded to the ads on Twitter, describing his siblings as "disgruntled Hillary supporters" who "put political ideology before family".[33]

Gosar defeated Brill in the November 2018 general election with 68.2% of the vote.

2020

Gosar was reelected with 69.7% of the vote over Democratic nominee Delina DiSanto. Six of his nine siblings—Grace, Jennifer, Joan, Gaston, David and Tim—endorsed his opponent, as they had in 2018.[34]

Actions

In January 2016, Gosar wrote and proposed legislation to strip Bill Cosby of his Presidential Medal of Freedom after Cosby admitted drugging women. His proposal received the support of Angela Rose and her nonprofit organization, with which Gosar consulted when writing the bill; President Barack Obama stated he would "take a look" at the proposal, but it never saw passage.[35][36]

On December 9, 2020, Gosar and Democratic U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Break Up Big Tech Act of 2020, aiming to remove Section 230 legal immunity for computer service providers who act as publishers and censor their users.[37][better source needed]

Fake Obama tweet image

On January 6, 2020, Gosar tweeted a doctored photograph that showed former President Barack Obama meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, with the caption: "The world is a better place without these guys in power". The encounter never happened; the picture was a photoshopped version of one showing Obama meeting former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. The photojournalist Daniel Medina pointed out that Rouhani was still in power and condemned Gosar's attempt to spread disinformation.[38][39] The photoshopped image was also featured in a 2015 TV ad for Senator Ron Johnson.[40] To widespread criticism, Gosar said, "No one said this wasn't photoshopped."[41]

2020 presidential election

Several weeks after the November 2020 presidential election, Gosar was one of 27 Republican members of Congress who requested that U.S. Attorney General William Barr "appoint a Special Counsel to investigate irregularities in the 2020 election."[42] The Arizona Republican Party produced a video, featuring Gosar and Representative Andy Biggs, claiming that there was widespread voter fraud in the election. Gosar claimed that Arizona's voting machines were faulty, that Wisconsin intentionally paused counting votes to "dump" 100,000 votes into the count for Joe Biden, and that dead people voted in Pennsylvania. He and Biggs also demanded an audit of Maricopa County's vote count.[43] Gosar strongly objected to counting electoral votes for Biden from certain states.

Through November, Gosar participated in Stop the Steal protests, comparing their efforts to the Battle of the Alamo.[44] Later, he tweeted a comparison between the fight for the America First agenda and Teruo Nakamura of the Imperial Japanese Army; Nakamura refused to recognize news of Japan's surrender in World War II for three decades, and remained on the remote island of Morotai alone until his discovery in 1974.[45]

Gosar repeatedly spoke at Stop the Steal events, claiming without basis that then-President-elect Biden was an "illegitimate usurper" and that Trump was the victim of an attempted coup.[46]

2021 storming of the United States Capitol

In December after the election, right-wing political activist and organizer Ali Alexander said that he, Gosar, Biggs, and Representative Mo Brooks were "planning something big": a "mob" to pressure Congress into rejecting the election results.[47] In a since-deleted video, Alexander said: "We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting."[46] Gosar's office did not respond to media inquiries about this allegation. News outlets noted that Gosar's social media accounts had expressed support for Alexander in the past.[47][48][49]

In the joint session of Congress to count formally the votes of the Electoral College on January 6, 2021, Gosar and Senator Ted Cruz led a challenge to Arizona's electoral results.[50]

Hours after the January 6 storming of the Capitol during which one police officer and four marchers eventually died, Gosar was the first member of Congress to advance the conspiracy theory that antifa was to blame for the violence, echoed by Brooks and Representative Matt Gaetz.[51][52] When Congress reconvened that night, the challenge to the Arizona vote had been rejected 6-93 in the Senate and 121-303 in the House. Gosar, Biggs and Debbie Lesko of Arizona voted to reject Arizona's vote results.[53][54]

As a result of Gosar's alleged involvement in the storming of the Capitol, three of his siblings called for his expulsion from Congress. "When you talk about what happened the other day, you're talking about treason. You're talking about overthrowing the government. That's what this is. If that doesn't rise to the level of expulsion, what does?", said Tim Gosar.[55][56] On January 19, the last day of the Trump administration, it was reported that Gosar and Biggs sought pardons from Trump. No pardons were granted to them or anyone else involved in the storming of the Capitol or the preceding "Save America" rally.[57]

Attendance at white nationalist conference

On February 26, 2021, Gosar delivered the keynote speech at the America First Political Action Conference hosted by white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who had previously supported the January 6 storming of the Capitol. Gosar was joined at the event by former Representative Steve King of Iowa, who was taken off his congressional committee seats after defending white nationalism in 2019.[6] Gosar later distanced himself from Fuentes, telling a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that racism and violence are unacceptable.[58][7] Nevertheless, he defended his presence at the conference, saying, "There is a group of young people that are becoming part of the election process, and becoming a bigger force. So why not take that energy and listen to what they've got to say? ... You don't accomplish anything by isolating and refusing to speak to some audiences."[7] Liz Cheney criticized Gosar's attendance at the event, saying, "This is not the kind of an organization or an event that other members of Congress should be participating in".[59]

CNN also reported that, before CPAC, Gosar and a dozen other Republican House members skipped votes and enlisted others to vote for them in order to attend the event, which was held at the same time as their absences. They cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for their absences.[60] In response, the Campaign for Accountability, an ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics and requested an investigation into Gosar and the other lawmakers.[61]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Abortion

Gosar describes himself as pro-life. He cosponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would make permanent restrictions on federal funding of abortions in the US,[69] and the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, an act placing restrictions on abortions in the District of Columbia.[70] Gosar was given a 100% rating by the National Right to Life Committee, a pro-life interest group, and a 0% rating by NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League), a pro-choice interest group.[71]

Animal welfare

As of 2020, Gosar has a "0" out of 100 rating from the Humane Society of the United States.[72] Gosar supports dismantling the Endangered Species Act, calling it "status quo" and "costly, burdensome and uncertain."[73]

Boycott of Pope Francis

On September 17, 2015, in an op-ed on the conservative website Townhall.com, Gosar announced that he would not attend Pope Francis's planned address to a joint meeting of Congress unless the Pope spoke about issues such as "violent Islam" or Planned Parenthood instead of climate change. He wrote that he would treat the Pope the same way he believes "leftist politicians" should be treated.[74] Gosar accused Francis of having "adopted all of the socialist talking points, wrapped false science and ideology into 'climate justice' and is being presented to guilt people into leftist policies."[75] He called climate science "questionable" and criticized Laudato si', Francis's encyclical on the environment.[74]

Gosar did not attend Francis's September 24 address, the only member of Congress not to do so.[76][77] Shortly after Francis's visit, Gosar used his opposition to Francis's addresses as a fundraising tool.[76][77] A fundraising email for Gosar used his Townhall.com op-ed's catchphrase, "When the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one",[10] and positioned Gosar as the victim of "unprecedented attacks" from "the liberals, the left-wing media and the Obama political machine."[77]

Cannabis

Gosar received an "F" grade from marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML.[78]

Economy

Gosar voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[79]

Environment

In 2015, Gosar scored 3% on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters, in part because he is a global warming denier. On January 30, 2017, he introduced House Joint resolution 46, which would repeal the authority of the National Park Service to decline private drilling for oil, gas and minerals in 40 U.S. National Parks if the Park Service determines that the mining operation would threaten the environment. The Washington Post said Gosar was "no friend of environmentalists."[80][81][82]

In September 2015, Gosar submitted articles of impeachment against EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, asserting that she had committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" and "lied to the American people in order to force misguided and overreaching regulations, which have no scientific basis, down our throats."[83] An EPA spokeswoman said Gosar's resolution "has zero merit and is nothing more than political theater" while fellow Republican and House majority leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed that "There's no plan to impeach Gina McCarthy."[84]

Foreign policy

In 2019, Gosar signed a letter led by Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Rand Paul to Trump asserting that it is "long past time to rein in the use of force that goes beyond congressional authorization" and that they hoped this would "serve as a model for ending hostilities in the future—in particular, as you and your administration seek a political solution to our involvement in Afghanistan."[85][86]

In 2019, Gosar was one of 24 representatives to vote against the Adam Kinzinger amendment to the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019 that called for funding to European nations to counter Russian influence.[87]

In 2019, Gosar was one of 60 representatives to vote against condemning Trump's withdrawal from Syria.[88]

In 2020, Gosar voted against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, which would prevent the president from withdrawing soldiers from Afghanistan without congressional approval.[89]

In 2021, when the House overwhelmingly passed a measure condemning the Myanmar coup d'état, Gosar voted present, while 14 other House Republicans voted against it, for unclear reasons.[90]

Guns

Gosar has stated that the "Second Amendment is one of the most important rights set forth by the Bill of Rights" and that he will "continue to oppose efforts to restrict, infringe, or remove this constitutionally protected right."[91] He was endorsed by the NRA (National Rifle Association) and given a rating of 92%. He was also endorsed by Gun Owners of America and given a rating of 75%.[92]

Healthcare

Gosar opposed Obamacare and monopolies and has advocated for physician-owned hospitals. He favors consumer choice of doctors, types of care and insurance plans.[93]

Immigration

He was given an "A" rating by NumbersUSA, an anti-immigration organization that seeks to reduce illegal immigration.[94]

The Arizona Republic described Gosar as "one of the staunchest opponents in Congress to legalizing undocumented dreamers".[95] Gosar stated, "I strongly believe we need to immediately secure our border and oppose amnesty for anyone who blatantly violates our law."[96] He has cosponsored legislation to repeal the 14th Amendment, thus eliminating birthright citizenship for children born in the US to undocumented immigrants.[97][98] In a May 2018 interview he accused immigration attorneys providing legal advice to undocumented immigrants of committing a crime: "What we need to do is also hold those that are actually helping — what they're saying is help, but assisting in a crime — to be prosecuted as well."[99]

Gosar supported the building of the Mexico-U.S. border wall propounded by President Trump. Gosar believes it will help stop MS-13 gang activity in the United States.[100]

Steve King

In 2019, Gosar sought to reinstate Representative Steve King to the House committees from which King had been removed due to a series of racist remarks.[101] In February 2021, Gosar spoke with King at the second annual America First Political Action Conference, hosted by white nationalist Nick Fuentes.[102][6]

Militias

In April 2014, Gosar joined a group of five conservative Arizona state legislators at the Bundy Standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, where grazing fee resistors and their supporters took up arms against Federal Bureau of Land Management and law enforcement officials.[103] The confrontation ended when federal officials chose not to take further action.

Native Americans

In December 2014, Gosar drew controversy when he referred to American Indians as "wards of the federal government". He was responding to concerns from members of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona when he made the comment at the round-table talk in Flagstaff. The discussion had addressed the proposal to swap 2,400 acres of southeastern Arizona's Tonto National Forest for about 5,300 acres of environmentally sensitive land. The proposal, which was attached as a rider to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, would give land sacred to the Apache in Arizona to Resolution Copper Mine, a joint venture owned by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Troy Eid, a Republican and former U.S. Attorney in Colorado, responded to Gosar's comments, "In the heated context of what this represents, it's especially inappropriate to be resorting to what amounts to race baiting." A Gosar spokesperson said his comments were misconstrued.[104]

Tommy Robinson

In July 2018, Gosar spoke at a rally in London in support of former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, emphasizing the importance of the right to free speech.[105] Gosar and six other congressmen invited Robinson to speak to the Conservative Opportunity Society on November 14, 2018, while he was visiting the United States on a trip sponsored by the Middle East Forum and the David Horowitz Freedom Center.[106]

Treason accusations against the FBI and DOJ

In February 2018, Gosar posted on his Facebook page that the Nunes memo showed "clear and convincing evidence" that certain members of the FBI and Justice Department committed treason.[107][108] He also specifically said conduct by James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein was "not just criminal but constitutes treason." In what Gosar referred to as "My full statement on the declassified memo", he said he would be "leading [sic] a letter to the Attorney General seeking criminal prosecution against these traitors to our nation."

Unite the Right rally

 
Paul Gosar with Donald Trump in 2019

In an October 2017 interview with Vice News, Gosar suggested that the white nationalist Unite the Right rally had been "created by the left", an idea previously expressed by Alex Jones of InfoWars, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Dinesh D'Souza, and others.[109] Gosar also suggested that Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Charlottesville rally, may have been backed by George Soros, who he described as having "turned in his own people to the Nazis".[110] Seven of Gosar's siblings wrote an open letter to the Kingman (Arizona) Daily Miner newspaper denouncing Gosar's claims about Soros as "despicable slander...without a shred of truth", saying the congressman "owes George Soros a personal apology."[111]

Ties to extremist militia groups

On January 29, 2021, The New York Times detailed Gosar's support for and past ties with extremist militia groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, some of whose members participated in the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.[112]

Electoral history

Arizona's 1st congressional district election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar 112,816 49.77
Democratic Ann Kirkpatrick (inc.) 99,233 43.73
Libertarian Nicole Patti 14,869 6.55
Total votes 226,918 100.0
Arizona's 4th congressional district Republican primary election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar (inc.) 40,033 51.35
Republican Ron Gould 24,617 31.57
Republican Bradley Beauchamp 13,315 17.08
Total votes 77,965 100.0
Arizona's 4th congressional district election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar (inc.) 162,907 66.83
Democratic Johnnie Robinson 69,154 28.37
Libertarian Joe Parnelia 9,306 3.82
Independent Richard Grayson 2,393 0.98
Total votes 243,760 100.0
Arizona's 4th congressional district election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar (inc.) 122,560 69.96
Democratic Mikel Weisser 45,179 25.79
Libertarian Chris Rike 7,440 4.25
Total votes 175,179 100.0
Arizona's 4th congressional district election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar (inc.) 203,487 71.5
Democratic Mikel Weisser 81,296 28.5
Total votes 284,783 100.0
Arizona's 4th congressional district election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar (inc.) 188,842 68.2
Democratic David Brill 84,521 30.5
Green Haryaksha Gregor Knauer 3,672 1.3
Total votes 277,035 100.0
Arizona's 4th congressional district election, 2020
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar (inc.) 278,002 69.74
Democratic Delina DiSanto 120,484 30.23
Total votes 398,486 100.0

Primary elections

Arizona's 1st congressional district Republican primary election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar 21,941 30.73
Republican Sydney Hay 16,328 22.87
Republican Bradley Beauchamp 11,356 15.91
Republican Russell Bowers 10,552 14.78
Republican Steve Mehta 5,846 8.19
Republican Thomas Zaleski 2,105 2.95
Republican Jon Jensen 1,736 2.43
Republican Joe Jaraczewski 1,530 2.14
Total votes 71,394 100.0
Arizona's 4th congressional district Republican primary election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar (inc.) 40,033 51.35
Republican Ron Gould 24,617 31.57
Republican Bradley Beauchamp 13,315 17.08
Total votes 77,965 100.0
Arizona's 4th congressional district Republican primary election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Gosar (inc.) 64,947 71.4
Republican Ray Strauss 25,991 28.6
Total votes 90,938 100.0

Personal life

Gosar's wife is Maude Gosar (nee Connor). They have three children.[8]

Gosar is a Roman Catholic. He has criticized Pope Francis's papacy as "inconsistent with Christianity" and skipped Francis's 2015 address to Congress in protest.[113]

Gosar has arthritis and has had two compressed vertebrae in his back that have required surgery to correct.[114] He cites years of hunching over for long periods while a dentist as the cause, as well as genetics and a history of playing rugby.[114]

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Elections 2012 – AP Election Guide: Dr. Paul Anthony Gosar". NPR. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Krejci, Cleo (July 24, 2020). "Who is running in Congressional District 4?". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Hansen, Ronald J. (October 30, 2018). "Controversies haven't dented Rep. Paul Gosar's base in Prescott". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  5. ^ Yourish, Karen; Larry Buchanan; Denise Lu (January 7, 2021). "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
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External links

Business positions
Preceded by
President of the Arizona Dental Association
2004–2005
Succeeded by
Daniel J. Klemmedson
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ann Kirkpatrick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 1st congressional district

2011–2013
Succeeded by
Ann Kirkpatrick
Preceded by
Ed Pastor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 4th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Bob Gibbs
United States representatives by seniority
136th
Succeeded by
Morgan Griffith