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, and graduated from Pinedale High School in 1977. 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.
Paul Anthony Gosar (/ˈɡoʊsɑːr/ GOH-sarr; born November 27, 1958) is an American former dentist who serves 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 includes most of rural western Arizona, the entirety of Prescott and a number of Phoenix's suburbs.
Several weeks after the November 2020 presidential election, Gosar was one of 27 Republican members of Congress who requested that "direct Attorney General Barr to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate irregularities in the 2020 election." Gosar and Representative Andy Biggs appeared in a video produced by the Arizona Republican Party claiming that there was widespread voter fraud in the election. Gosar claimed 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. Gosar participated in Stop the Steal protests, comparing their efforts to the Battle of the Alamo. A few weeks later, he tweeted a comparison between the long fight ahead 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 Pacific island of Morotai in Indonesia until his arrest in 1974.
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.
From 1989 to 2010, Gosar had a dentistry practice in Flagstaff, Arizona. 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.
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 defeated Kirkpatrick in the November 2010 general election, taking 49.7% 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. Gosar rented an apartment in Prescott, the largest city in the 4th, which he claims as his official residence. He claimed he would eventually buy a home in the district. However, 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.
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% of the vote.
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. The confrontation ended when federal officials chose not to take further action.
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 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."
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."
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 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. Gosar was reelected with 71% of the vote.
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.
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". 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:
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.
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. 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."
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 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 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.
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.”
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.
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. To widespread criticism, Gosar said, "No one said this wasn't photoshopped." The photoshopped image was also featured in a 2015 TV ad for Senator Ron Johnson.
In December 2020, right-wing political activist and organizer Ali Alexander said that Gosar was helping to organize a mob to pressure Congress on January 6. These plans allegedly resulted in the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol; according to Alexander, who defended the Capitol events as "completely peaceful", "It was to build momentum and pressure and then on the day change hearts and minds of Congress peoples who weren't yet decided or who saw everyone outside and said, 'I can't be on the other side of that mob.'" Gosar's office has not responded to media inquiries about this allegation; news outlets noted that Gosar's social media accounts had repeatedly expressed support for Alexander.
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 its users.
The Arizona Republic has called Gosar "Arizona's most controversial member of Congress". He has been a strong ally of President Donald Trump. Gosar was one of the 139 representatives who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 US presidential election in Congress on January 7, 2021, the day after the storming of the US Capitol.