(CNN) - Ron Paul's campaign touted support from a family member of one of his rivals on Tuesday, just hours before the Iowa caucuses.
John Garver, 19-year-old nephew of surging Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, urged voters to pick Paul over his uncle.
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"If you want another big-government politician who supports the status quo to run our country, you should vote for my uncle, Rick Santorum," wrote Garver, a student at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
His comments came Tuesday in a column, titled "The trouble with my uncle, Rick Santorum," for the conservative news site The Daily Caller. The piece was then blasted out by the Paul campaign.
Garver criticized his uncle, a former two-term Pennsylvania senator, as a "big-spending Republican" who contributed to raising the debt level during the George W. Bush administration.
"It is because of this inability of status quo politicians to recognize the importance of our individual liberties that I have been drawn to Ron Paul," Garver wrote. "Unlike my uncle, he does not believe that the American people are incapable of forming decisions."
According to recent polls, Santorum is now battling for a top tier finish with Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Tuesday night's caucuses.
Santorum's campaign did not respond immediately to requests for comment about Garver's column.
– CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.