|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 2011
|Constituency||1st district (2011-2013)|
4th district (2013-present)
Paul Anthony Gosar
November 27, 1958
Rock Springs, Wyoming, U.S.
|Alma mater||Creighton University (BS, DDS)|
Paul Anthony Gosar (; born November 27, 1958) is an American politician who has served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Arizona since 2011. Since 2013 he has represented Arizona's 4th congressional district, which includes most of the rural western portion of the state, as well as a few suburbs of Phoenix; he represented the neighboring 1st district during his first term. Gosar is a member of the Republican Party.
Gosar was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, on November 27, 1958. He is the oldest of the seven sons and three daughters 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, France. Gosar was raised in Pinedale, Wyoming. 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 and 2014.
Gosar started his career as a dentist. From 1989 to 2010 he had a dentistry practice in Flagstaff, Arizona. In 2001 Gosar was the Arizona Dental Association's "Dentist of the Year". He was inducted into the ADA Hall of Fame and served as its president. Gosar was also president of the Northern Arizona Dental Society and vice-chair of the ADA council on governmental affairs.
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.
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. Kirkpatrick challenged him to five debates across the district. 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, 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.
Gosar defeated Kirkpatrick in the November 2010 general election, taking 49.7 percent of the vote.
Gosar initially planned to seek reelection in the 1st district, which had been made less favorable to Republicans as a result of redistricting, 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. As part of the move, Gosar bought a second home in Prescott, which he claimed as his official residence.
Gosar initially faced a tough primary fight against Babeu, but Babeu pulled out in May 2012 due to allegations of abuse of power. 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 percent of the vote.
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. 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".
Gosar defeated Brill in the November 2018 general election with 68.2% of the vote.
Gosar describes himself as pro-life. Of abortions, he has said, "These procedures undeniably rob the world of a human life in a most cruel fashion... The right thing to do is to ban these procedures." Gosar cosponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would make permanent restrictions on federal funding of abortions in the US. He also cosponsored the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, an act placing restrictions on abortions in the District of Columbia. 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.
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. 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." He called climate science "questionable" and criticized Laudato si', Francis's encyclical on the environment.
Gosar did not attend Francis's September 24 address, the only member of Congress not to do so. Shortly after Francis's visit, Gosar used his opposition to Francis's addresses as a fundraising tool. 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", and positioned Gosar as the victim of "unprecedented attacks" from "the liberals, the left-wing media and the Obama political machine."
Gosar is against the legalization of marijuana and has expressed concerns about public safety, children, and the commercial industry. He voted against the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, which allows veterans to access medical marijuana, if legal in their state, per their Veterans Health Administration doctor's recommendation. He has an "F" rating from NORML regarding his voting record on cannabis-related matters.
In 2015 Gosar scored 3% on the National Environmental Scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters. 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."
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." 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."
In 2019 Gosar signed a letter led by Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Rand Paul to President 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."
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." 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%.
The Arizona Republic described Gosar as "one of the staunchest opponents in Congress to legalizing undocumented dreamers". Gosar stated, "I strongly believe we need to immediately secure our border and oppose amnesty for anyone who blatantly violates our law." He has cosponsored legislation to repeal the 14th Amendment, thus eliminating birthright citizenship for children born in the US to undocumented immigrants. 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."
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.
In February 2018 Gosar posted on his Facebook page that the so-called Nunes memo showed "clear and convincing evidence" that certain members of the FBI and Justice Department committed treason. 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."
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. 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.
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-Calif.), Dinesh D'Souza, and others. 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". Soros was 14 years old at the end of World War II. 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."
As of November 2017, Gosar is a member of dozens of House caucuses. They include:
|Arizona's 1st congressional district Republican primary election, 2010|
|Republican||Russell "Rusty" Bowers||10,552||14.78|
|Arizona's 1st congressional district election, 2010|
|Democratic||Ann Kirkpatrick (inc.)||99,233||43.73|
|Arizona's 4th congressional district Republican primary election, 2012|
|Republican||Paul Gosar (inc.)||40,033||51.35|
|Arizona's 4th congressional district election, 2012|
|Republican||Paul Gosar (inc.)||162,907||66.83|
|Americans Elect||Richard Grayson||2,393||0.98|
|Arizona's 4th congressional district election, 2014|
|Republican||Paul Gosar (inc.)||122,560||69.96|
|Arizona's 4th congressional district election, 2016|
|Republican||Paul Gosar (inc.)||203,487||71.5|
Gosar's wife is Maude Gosar. They have three children.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 1st congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 4th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority