TAMPA, Fla. — In the final hours of the Member-vs.-Member race between Republican Reps. Ben Quayle and David Schweikert, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) reiterated his unhappiness with the tone of the campaign.
"I don't feel good about it because it was turned into such a snarky race. Both Sen. [John] McCain and I felt that we needed to comment on the Schweikert campaign," he said.
Kyl has been highly critical of Schweikert's campaign. When asked by reporters if Schweikert broke Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment," Kyl simply said, "Yes."
"We talked about it in our press conference," he said, when asked to elaborate. "I don't like to put any fuel on the fire. I think this might be a good indication of whether in the last days of the race people turned against Schweikert because of the negative advertising. We'll see."
Chris Baker, Schweikert's political consultant, responded to the comments with an emailed statement.
"As much as some would like to engage in revisionist history, it's important to remember that it was the Quayle campaign who went negative first with their attack mail, not the Schweikert campaign," Baker wrote.
Kyl also weighed in other races. He projected Rep. Jeff Flake (R) will coast to the GOP nomination in the race to succeed Kyl in the Senate.
"It was rough, but never close," Kyl said about Flake's primary against real estate investor Wil Cardon.
Redistricting destabilized the status quo in Arizona party politics and pitted Republicans in the delegation against each other. Kyl expressed concern about the delegation he is leaving behind.
"It's not going to be as easy for everybody to come together. I don't think there's any question about it," he said. "It was a real unfortunate circumstance."
He then echoed Republican outrage about the state's redistricting process.
"It all stemmed from the people of the state deciding in a very misguided way to support this Independent Redistricting Commission, which this year was not independent in the least," he said. "It's strictly a Democratic proposition that resulted in drawing some very crazy lines, like getting Ben Quayle removed from his district by three houses. That's not right."
"So, it'll take some time to repair," he added.