Rep. David Schweikert is pulling away from Rep. Ben Quayle in Arizona’s 6th district Republican primary, state and national sources have concluded.
With Arizona voters eligible to begin mailing in their primary ballots last Thursday, knowledgeable observers say Schweikert has more local support and a better ground game. A recent Schweikert internal poll bolstered that narrative, as has his campaign’s aggressive strategy and the perception that Quayle was elected to Congress in 2010 on the name identification coattails of his father, former Vice President Dan Quayle.
“Everything is going according to how we planned to tell our story,” Schweikert told Roll Call.
Schweikert has been a player in Arizona politics for more than 20 years. He has served in government at the county and state levels, over time developing solid recognition among voters and a loyal following among Grand Canyon State political operatives.
According to Schweikert’s internal poll conducted in mid-July, the candidate led his fellow freshman Congressman by 16 points. The survey was conducted by Adam Geller of National Research Inc.
The Quayle campaign has questioned its credibility and attempted to cast doubt on its findings.
“The polls he has been peddling are quite inaccurate, but people believe them when they hear them,” Quayle spokesman Jay Heiler said. “That’s why you are hearing what you are hearing.
“We have polled ahead and the trend lines are good,” he added.
However, the Quayle camp has declined to release its own internal polling or offer other data to counter Schweikert’s claims.
Schweikert’s general consultant, Chris Baker, firmly stands by the poll and its methodology. Additionally, state and national operatives say the Schweikert lead feels right.
One Arizona Republican who appears particularly confident in the predictive quality of Schweikert’s internal polling is Schweikert himself. In an interview, he projected a sunny outlook and cited the survey as a primary source of his optimism about his chances of defeating Quayle in the Aug. 28 primary.
Still, Quayle insists he remains competitive.
“Two-thirds of the district is my current district,” he said. “That gives me a nice little advantage there.”
Possibly helping Quayle’s cause are his proven fundraising skills and high-profile endorsements, including enthusiastic support from Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who carries enormous weight with conservatives in the state.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also endorsed Quayle, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) confirmed that he intends to endorse Quayle “fairly soon.”
“There may well be others,” Heiler said about future top-tier endorsements for Quayle.
Sources in the Schweikert camp downplayed Quayle’s endorsements and fundraising, contending it is a result of his family connections.
Much like Quayle’s 2010 race, his last name comes up in nearly every conversation about the race.