Schweikert Beats Quayle, Headlining Ariz. House Primaries
Rep. David Schweikert defeated Rep. Ben Quayle in the final member-versus-member primary of the 2012 cycle Tuesday night, claiming a narrow victory after a nasty battle for the Republican nomination in Arizona's 6th District.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Schweikert led Quayle 53 percent to 47 percent. The Associated Press called the race for Schweikert.
Eight House members have now lost primaries against fellow incumbents, and nearly every race was expensive, close, and marked by personal attacks. The primary between Quayle and Schweikert may have been the nastiest, though; Schweikert's campaign sent now-infamous mailers saying Quayle "goes both ways" on certain issues, and super PACs on either side hammered away at the freshmen Republicans on character.
In the end, Schweikert's long relationships with Maricopa County Republicans -- he has been on ballots there over the last two decades in runs for local office -- worked to Schweikert's advantage, even as he took criticism from Quayle backers like Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain for the tone of his campaign.
In the 4th District, fellow Republican freshman Rep. Paul Gosar survived a primary challenge from state Sen. Ron Gould, whose conservative-themed campaign was backed by over $600,000 from the Club for Growth's super PAC. Much of that money went toward TV ads attacking Gosar for voting for the 2011 debt ceiling deal, among other things, but with 99 percent of district precincts reporting, Gosar had 51 percent of the vote to Gould's 32 percent.
The 4th and 6th Districts are heavily Republican seats, and Schweikert and Gosar will almost surely return to Congress in 2013. The open 5th District also tilts heavily Republican, and GOP primary winner Matt Salmon has likely punched a ticket back to Washington. Salmon served three terms in Congress in the 1990s and was opposed in his comeback bid by former state House Speaker Kirk Adams. A late endorsement and campaign appearance by Sarah Palin boosted Adams in the final days of the campaign, but Salmon took 54 percent of the vote to Adams's 46 percent, with all precincts reporting.