Paul Gosar

“Paul Gosar” photo by Gage Skidmore licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What was the Accusation?

Representative Paul Gosar (Republican-Arizona) was the target of a vicious attack by his own siblings in a series of political ads sponsored by his Democratic rival, David Brill.  The first ad, released September 21, 2018, creatively featured six of Gosar’s nine siblings, each attacking their brother on a variety of issues including social security, health care, immigration, and water policy. They uniformly argued that Gosar wasn’t working for his district and that he doesn’t care about people in rurual parts of Arizona.  The ad initially appears to be a commonly used type political ad called “man of the street” spot, which strategically showcases a montage of disgruntled voters.  It isn’t until the end of the ad where the viewer discovers that the people attacking all share the same last name. Huffington Post reporter Carla Herreria argued after the ad first surfaced: “Attack ads are nothing new in the world of politics, but one campaign video targeting an Arizona congressman just hit a new level of ‘whoa.'” Representative Gosar immediately returned fire, attacking his family in a variety of Tweets, calling his siblings “angry,” “leftist,” “Trump supporters” and sarcastically expressing that he would see them “at mom and dad’s house.”  He also argued that he would not be deterred by the accusations.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Attacking the Accuser, Bolstering



Tweets from Gosar:































Statements to CNN:

“It’s unfortunate that my opponent chose to use family political differences to launch attacks on me rather than focusing on the issues.”

“I will not be deterred from fighting for our conservative values regardless of these underhanded tactics.”

“These disgruntled Hillary suppporters (sic) are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Lenin, Mao and Kim Jung (sic) Un would be proud. It is unfortunate that my opponent chose to use family political differences to launch attacks on me rather than focusing on the issues.”



Hayes, C. (2018, September 22). ‘Stalin would be proud’: GOP Congressman responds to viral attack ad by ‘crazy’ siblings. USA Today. Retrieved from:

Herreria, C. (2018, September 21). Arizona republican’s siblings endorse his opponent in brutal ads. Huffington Post. Retrieved from:

Stracqualursi, V. (2018, September 23). Gosar responds to siblings’ attack ad: ‘To the six angry Democrat Gosars — see you at Mom and Dad’s house!’ CNN. Retrieved from: