Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Expect a Nasty Arizona Member-Vs.-Member Battle

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Expect the upcoming Arizona GOP primary between Reps. David Schweikert and Ben Quayle (above) to be a contentious and costly one.

Most of that sentiment dates back to his first race in 2010. He managed to beat out nine other Republicans in a rough primary, and there is a lasting bitterness that he won the race based on the power of his last name.

A source close to Schweikert described Quayle's crowded 2010 primary as chaotic and said this year will be very different.

Specifically, the source cited how underfunded Quayle's previous opponents were and how disorganized the race was without a frontrunner to target.

The residual anger among those who lost that race and their backers runs the spectrum. Some are still furious, but others have moved on.

"I actually kind of like him, particularly since he called Obama the worst president ever," said a Washington, D.C.-based Republican fundraiser who backed one of Quayle's 2010 opponents.

Opinions are mixed on whether Quayle's father, former Vice President Dan Quayle, helps him or hurts him more in this race.

In 2010 the elder Quayle was able to twist arms on the fundraising front, and the younger Quayle had near instantaneous name identification in the 10-
person primary race.

But it also allowed Ben Quayle to be painted as a son of privilege.

Those in Quayle's camp see his father's influence as an asset.

"Ben has spent his life around politics, and so Ben is plugged into a network out there of people that goes across the country, and his dad is part of that network and helpful in reaching other parts of it. It's one of the advantages Ben has," Quayle spokesman Jay Heiler said.

"When the public got to know Ben, they saw an extremely talented conservative leader. Are there people around who resent that success? Yeah," Heiler added. "That doesn't mean it came from any place but his performance. People in this business always resent other people's advantages, but that's life."

Schweikert, who defeated a Democratic incumbent last cycle, has built up a reputation as an anti-establishment Republican. But several neutral GOP strategists described him as personally "awkward" and "strange."

State Republicans say on a gut-level, they feel as if Schweikert has the energy and the edge in the race, but there is an eternity to go before the Aug. 28 primary.

Overall, state strategists are not expressing deep concern about this intraparty contest creating a deep rift in the local and state party.

When the same Republican operative who expressed relief he was not involved in the race was asked whether he feared that the heavy fundraising and expected mud-slinging would hurt the party as a whole, he simply said, "I am not worried about that at all."

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