US mid-term elections

Do not vote for him, say six of Arizona congressman's siblings

Republican Paul Gosar (left) is expected to retain his seat despite a series of ads by his Democrat opponent, Mr David Brill, featuring six of the congressman's nine siblings.
Republican Paul Gosar (above) is expected to retain his seat despite a series of ads by his Democrat opponent, Mr David Brill, featuring six of the congressman's nine siblings.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) - Six siblings of a Republican congressman from Arizona seeking re-election in November's mid-terms have publicly endorsed his Democratic opponent - all but ensuring an awkward Thanksgiving family dinner this year.

Mr Paul Gosar, who first entered Congress in 2011 with the backing of the populist Tea Party movement and is known for his hard-line views on immigration, is odds-on favourite to retain his seat in the rural, conservative state when he faces Democrat David Brill.

But that hasn't stopped six of his nine brothers and sisters from featuring in a series of videos released last Friday for the Brill campaign, drawing surprised and bemused reactions as the family feud plays out across national media.

In one of the ads, titled "Paul Gosar Is Not Working For You", the siblings are introduced by only their first names and professions as they take turns to lay out the case against him.

"If (Arizona voters) care about healthcare... they would hold him to account," says physician Grace. Lawyer David says: "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" towards the end, before Mr Brill closes out the video to say he approved the message.

In a second video, called "A Family Defends Its Honour," 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.

"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."

Republicans currently hold majorities in both the House and the Senate.

Democrats are hoping for a strong showing in the Nov 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.

Mr Gosar, however, can probably rest easy: Political forecasting site FiveThirtyEight currently gives his opponent a less than 1 per cent chance of an upset victory.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2018, with the headline 'Do not vote for him, say six of Arizona congressman's siblings'. Print Edition | Subscribe