GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s Son Is Donating To The Democrat Who Wants To Replace Him

ByMonica Busch
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It's no secret that the United States is incredibly politically divided right now, and that those divisions can take a toll on familial relationships. For one Virginian congressman, those divisions have caused so much tension that his son is trying to make sure a member of the opposite party takes his seat in November. GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte's son is supporting a Democrat, he announced in a tweet over the weekend, as part of a push to flip congressional seats.

"Just gave the maximum allowed donation to Jennifer Lewis, a democrat running for my father's congressional seat," Goodlatte's son, Bobby Goodlatte, tweeted on Sunday. "I've also gotten 5 other folks to commit to donate the max. 2018 is the year to flip districts — let's do this!"

To be clear, Goodlatte is retiring at the end of this term, so Bobby isn't technically supporting his father's opponent. However, he is publicly promoting an ideological sea change, and appears to be comfortable openly opposing his father's political beliefs.

Goodlatte has served as a representative of Virginia since 1993. Shortly after announcing his support for Democratic candidate Lewis, Bobby doubled down on his frustration with his father's politics. Specifically, he addressed former FBI agent Peter Strzok's ouster, which his father was involved in. Strzok was fired after he was caught having sent anti-Trump text messages.

"I'm deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok's career was ruined by my father's political grandstanding. That committee hearing was a low point for Congress," he tweeted Monday. "Thank you for your service sir. You are a patriot."

Though it doesn't happen incredibly often, politicians' children do, from time to time, publicly oppose what their parents stand for. Several high-profile children famously did this during the same sex marriage debate.

Barbara Bush, one of President George H.W. Bush's twin daughters, came out in support for marriage equality back in 2011, when New York was still fighting to legalize it, for example. The video was released about a year after a previous marriage equality bill failed to make it through the state senate. Several months after Bush's video was released, a new bill was introduced and successfully passed. Bush's video was short, but it urged New Yorkers to support same sex unions, despite the fact that her father did not support them, according to The New York Times.

And similarly, Sen. John McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, also came out publicly in support of legalizing same sex marriage. As Politico reported, she and her mother even posed for a NO H8 campaign back in 2009. That campaign, specifically, opposed a California proposition that would have banned same sex marriage. Her father, according to Politico, supported that ban.

This week didn't mark the first time that Bobby Goodlatte has dissented from his father's political beliefs. As USA Today reported, Goodlatte told TechCrunch back in 2015 that he had some reservations about linking his career to his father's. "I've been very, wary about having my dad open doors for me in life," he said. "We’re starting from the exact opposite sides of the political spectrum."

Rep. Goodlatte has not publicly responded to his son's current round of political advocacy. But Bobby's sentiments underscore precisely how tense the current political climate is. And for now, it shows no signs of changing.