The fiscal watchdog organization Club for Growth is calling the Congressional primary race in Arizona’s newly redistricted CD6 the most watched Republican congressional primary race in the country. Due to Arizona gaining a new House seat and redistricting, incumbent House Republicans David Schweikert and Ben Quayle saw their districts overlap. The redistricting committee, which is controlled by the left, did this to Republicans purposely. Quayle’s house ended up barely inside of Arizona’s new CD9. Since the new CD9 contains Tempe, which is not as conservative as CD6 in the Northeast Valley, Quayle announced shortly after the redistricting that he would be running in CD6, not CD9 where he lives. He is not required to move into CD6 in order to run there.
Both Quayle and Schweikert entered office in 2011. They have taken very different paths since then. Quayle has gone along with leadership to become the establishment favorite, avoiding controversial votes rather than crossing Speaker Boehner. Quayle missed 65 votes last year. By missing votes, Quayle is able to claim he has one of the best conservative records in Congress. To avoid the perception that he votes as he is told, Quayle voted against approving the notes from the House Journal, a benign and meaningless vote that was exposed as a parliamentary procedural trick.
In contrast, Schweikert, a Tea Party favorite, has stood up to House leadership on major legislation, only missing around five votes last year. He voted against CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. CISPA grossly infringes upon privacy rights, permitting internet companies like Facebook and Google to turn over emails from their users to law enforcement without obtaining probable cause or a search warrant first. Most Republican members of Congress voted for it, since they receive large contributions from those companies for their campaigns. Schweikert also voted against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would transfer vast amounts of power to the Department of Justice to shut down websites over vague intellectual property accusations. Schweikert voluntarily stepped down from his position as Deputy Whip last year on principle, unwilling to lobby other members to vote for bills he did not agree with.
Quayle co-sponsored CISPA, and added an amendment to it which some believe made the privacy invasions even worse. He was criticized for this, acquiring the nickname “Net Nanny.” He has been accused of being a hypocrite for thinking it is acceptable to report everyone else’s personal internet behavior, while he hid his online activity writing under a porn star pseudonym for a sleazy website. Quayle flip-flopped on voting for SOPA.
Schweikert has a long history of public service, having served as Maricopa County Treasurer and Majority Whip in the Arizona State House of Representatives. He also owns a small business as a real estate broker. Quayle began his career as a lawyer, which he left to start an investment company with his brother.
Quayle has enjoyed a significant fundraising ability over Schweikert due to connections from his father Dan Quayle. Former President George H.W. Bush hosted a fundraiser for him. Quayle has pulled in some big establishment endorsements, including Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ). Schweikert’s support comes from grassroots conservatives and fiscal hawks. He has been endorsed by Citizens United and Pat Toomey (R-PA), a former president of the Club for Growth known for his outspoken conservative stands on fiscal issues.
The Club for Growth has tried to stay neutral in the race, but when it became a possibility that House Republican leadership might support Quayle over Schweikert, president Chris Chocola issued this statement, "Should it become apparent that you are choosing sides on behalf of Rep. Quayle, the Club for Growth PAC will consider it necessary to intervene on behalf of Rep. Schweikert. We will not sit back and allow House Republican leaders to invest resources with impunity against an incumbent fiscal conservative."
Polling so far shows Schweikert significantly ahead of Quayle. A poll done by a GOP consultant with ties to neither campaign found Schweikert leading Quayle 44-30 last week, an increase from a month earlier where Schweikert led Quayle 37-30.
It is unfortunate that Republicans are forced to waste money on this race, which has pitted Republicans against Republicans. Quayle may end up the loser, since many see him as a carpetbagger for not running in Arizona’s new CD9, where he resides and there was no incumbent. Prominent Republicans had agreed to stay out of the race and give him an uncontested primary, and the Tea Party urged him not to switch to CD6, but he did not listen.