CHEYENNE — Pete Gosar stepped down as Wyoming Democratic Party chairman last week to launch a longshot run for governor in this heavily Republican state. But he's not the only politician in the family.
Gosar's older brother is Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., a two-term congressman seeking re-election in a sprawling congressional district in western Arizona.
As conservative as his younger brother is liberal, Rep. Gosar is a strong critic of President Barack Obama's administration on issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act to its handling of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The American Conservative Union gives the congressman a lifetime rating of better than 90 percent.
"I kid him about it," Pete Gosar said Tuesday of his oldest brother's conservative politics. "That since he was first-born, he didn't have to understand what it was like to wear hand-me-downs a decade later, so he didn't understand what it was like to be the underdog."
"I wish my brother well," Rep. Gosar said in a prepared statement. "We agree to disagree, but he is a good man. He is my brother!"
Pete Gosar, 46, is a pilot for the state and owns an aviation business in his hometown of Laramie. He is the only Democrat to declare in the governor's race. On the Republican side, incumbent Gov. Matt Mead is seeking re-election. His challengers include Cindy Hill, the state superintendent of public instruction, and retired Cheyenne doctor Taylor Haynes.
Gosar has vocally supported the Affordable Care Act and has criticized Mead's call not to accept federal money to expand Medicaid to offer health insurance coverage to 17,600 people in the state.
Expanding Medicaid is a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. Mead has said he doesn't trust federal promises to continue funding if the state expands the program.
Gosar said there is a need to allow thousands to get insured.
"I've heard of no other program that would address it as clearly as the Affordable Care Act," he said. "So until guys like my brother have a replacement and a whole, not just a piecemeal replacement but a full, comprehensive system, I think that the opportunity is to improve the ACA."
Last year, Rep. Gosar stated that the health care law "destroys the relationship patients have with their doctors and puts bureaucrats in the middle."
"The impact of this law has cost workers their jobs, raised policy premiums and limited health options," he said.
The two also differ on abortion — though Pete Gosar said that while people should do everything they can to limit abortion, "I think that is a woman's health issue. And I don't know that we should be intervening at that point."
Gosar said he and his brother talk often about political issues.
"I'm not sure why he comes to the thoughts he comes, I haven't given up on him," he said. "I work on him daily. We'll get over to looking at things a little more liberally. We'll keep working on him."