With Gosar Under Scrutiny for His January 6 Role, Big Dollar Backers Don’t Flinch

U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar speaks with attendees at the “Rally to Protect Our Elections” hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix in July 2021. /Gage Skidmore

By Elias Weiss | Phoenix New Times

 On January 6, 2021, a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the United States Capitol, disrupting a joint Congressional session called to count the electoral votes that would formalize Trump’s defeat.

“This is because of you!” barked Congressman Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat, at his Arizona Republican colleague Paul Gosar as Capitol Police evacuated the chamber that day.

It was meant as an insult, Phillips would say. But Gosar seems proud to take credit for inciting the insurrection.

In a video leaked by the Arizona Republic last week, the six-term lawmaker from Prescott proclaims, “I was the one who started the revolution.”

His remark, at an event sponsored by a Republican club in Bullhead City earlier this month, was welcomed with applause. Maybe because three-quarters of Republicans sympathize with January 6 rioters, a recent poll from Boston’s Suffolk University found.

Betty McRae, an 83-year-old straight-ticket Republican voter who lives in Paradise Valley, is in the minority. Yet her support of Gosar, both monetary and as a voter, is unwavering.

“It did not change my mind one bit,” McRae said of the video in a Thursday interview with Phoenix New Times. “I am a strong supporter of Paul Gosar. He’s an ethical man.”

Gosar, tagged by the American Conservative Union Foundation as “the most conservative member of Congress,” has raised just over $280,000 this election cycle — a quarter of his $1 million travel budget spent since 2016. He spends more taxpayer dollars on travel than any other House rep.

McRae is among Gosar’s most generous donors, pledging more than $3,000 to the far-right incumbent in March, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Gosar’s biggest donors are two Washington, D.C.-based PACs, WinRed and House Freedom Fund, totaling more than $200,000 in receipts. His fourth-biggest backer is Bill Luke Auto Group in Phoenix, which doled out about $6,000 to the campaign.

“We have no comment,” Shawn Bean, a spokesperson for the auto dealer, said on Tuesday.

WinRed and House Freedom Fund declined interviews with New Times, as did Gosar.

“It was a terrible mistake on January 6,” McRae said. “That was not a positive action at all.”

But the Texas native is sympathetic to Gosar, even after she turned her back on Trump.

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