Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Ben Quayle in Crowded, Ugly Battle for Arizona House Seat

5 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
For anyone who loves to watch a dramatic political race unfold, the contest to succeed retiring Rep, John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) in Arizona's third congressional district will not disappoint on Tuesday night.

The increasingly bitter GOP primary has pitted 10 candidates against one another in the conservative district, where three state legislators, two mayors, several businesspeople and the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle have been battling for months to win the nomination. Local reports calling the race "atomic" seem to understate the vitriol the candidates have spewed in recent weeks.

One of the best-financed and most controversial candidates in the field is Ben Quayle, the 33-year-old lawyer whose famous last name has helped the political novice rake in more than $1.3 million in campaign cash, while heated attacks from rivals and a self-inflicted wound and have sent him tumbling in recent polls.

To get a sense of the tough tone of the campaign, just take a look at Quayle's most recent ad, in which Quayle attacks Barack Obama as "the worst president in history" and declares, "Someone has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place."

While Quayle has been able to generate media interest in his candidacy and raise more money than most of his competitors, he hasn't been able to out-talk the fiery crew, who run the political spectrum from conservative to extremely conservative.

Pamela Gorman, an affable 41-year-old state senator, recently joked to Fox Business Network that her team calls Quayle "Hillary Lite," referring to the fact that although Quayle's roots in the state date back four generations, he has lived in the state intermittently for the last 14 years, with departures for school and work.

"He came to a state with nothing but a name and a lot of money and he's trying to buy a seat just like Hillary Clinton did," Gorman said, referring to Clinton's move to New York, where she was elected U.S. senator. "The difference is Hillary Clinton had some actual experience in public policy. This kid's got nothing."

Gorman seems to be the genuine article when it comes to conservative bona fides. In addition to sponsoring Arizona's controversial immigration bill SB 1070, Gorman ran a campaign ad featuring her firing a Thompson sub-machine gun in the Arizona desert. "You can't help but smile when you pull that trigger," she told FBN's David Asman, before adding that she has nothing against "the young man," Quayle.

Quayle has had more incendiary exchanges with Vernon Parker, the African-American mayor of tony Paradise Valley, who grew up in poverty in California and eventually attended Georgetown Law School before working his way up to jobs in both Bush administrations. Parker calls famous GOP operative Lee Atwater his political mentor and has been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County.

The bad blood between Parker and Quayle surfaced last month when a Quayle campaign mailer featured Quayle, his wife, and two young children, with Quayle declaring his plans to "raise our family" in Arizona. The only problem -- the newly wedded Quayles have no children. Parker accused Quayle of "renting a family" to win votes, to which Quayle angrily responded that the girls in the photo were his nieces, and thus, his family.

Later, Quayle put out a statement about Parker, warning GOP voters that, "If Vernon Parker were the Republican nominee, he would quickly become a national poster boy for the Democrat Party."

Parker's camp fired back that the use of the term "boy" to describe the mayor was derogatory, and implied that it was racist, as well.

"To have the 33-year-old son of one of the wealthiest families in America refer to a leading Republican African-American as 'boy' is over the top," Parker's campaign spokesman said in a statement.

Quayle's campaign called Parker's accusations part of an ongoing smear campaign.

As ugly as things got between Parker and Quayle, the latest and perhaps most serious battle among the rivals has come between Quayle and Steve Moak, a successful Paradise Valley businessman and local philanthropist, whom Quayle accused of padding his corporate income with money from a personal nonprofit.

Moak took deep offense to Quayle's accusations about notMYkid, the nonprofit that Moak started with his wife after their son battled against addiction. He fired back at Quayle, accusing him of using "dishonest and deceitful campaign tactics."

Moak also recently released an ad about Quayle and his past writings for the now-defunct website,, a nightlife blog that said it was dedicated to "exposing the trashy side of Scottsdale nightlife." Although Quayle at first called stories about his involvement in the site political smears, he later confirmed to Politico that he had contributed to the site in an effort to drive traffic to it. The site's founder later told Politico that Quayle had helped to start the website, which is now, and wrote under the pseudonym Brock Landers, a fictional porn star from the film "Boogie Nights."

Moak's ad hammered Quayle over his involvement with DirtyScottsdale, which the ad called "a raunchy website that degrades women."

"Is this the type of behavior we want from our next congressman?" the ad asks.

The response to Moak's attack came Monday night, not from Ben Quayle, but from his parents, Dan and Marilyn Quayle, who sent separate e-mails urging supporters to stand behind their son.

Dan Quayle wrote, "I have never in my 35 years of politics seen such an ugly, slanderous assault in the closing days of a campaign against a fellow Republican."

The younger Quayle told PD's Matt Lewis recently that he believes the race will be a referendum on Barack Obama. But with so many attacks focused on Quayle, the contest seems to have become a referendum on him, with the other candidates improving their fortunes by hurting Quayle's.

Moak has led in recent polls, but with early voting well underway and a wide-open field, the winner for the nomination is anyone's guess. The polls in Arizona open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. MST.
Filed Under: The Capitolist

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.


Filter by:

This seems like kind of a joke: His family send the privieged kid to law school and it looks like he never had to do a chore in his live or fight for survival like most of us tax slaves or better said serfes to the system who seldom get out of lives misery.I watched his trivial video which is uninpressive and it seems that he would be very short as far as cutting the mustard.

August 24 2010 at 8:02 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

jbsasktheape3... If you didn't see a skit lampooning Obama on SNL every week you simply weren't watching SNL.

August 24 2010 at 6:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Debbie Penland !


August 24 2010 at 3:03 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

If I were an Arizonian, he(Ben Quayle), is the last someone I would want representing me... Name recognition alone isn't going to do the job at hand. Moreover, he's come across as being far to devisive to represent the people of Arizona.

August 24 2010 at 2:55 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Republicans have forgotten Ronald Reagan's commandment, "Thou shalt not speak evil of another Republican." Republicans need to bring back civility to the Grand Old Party of Abe Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater.

August 24 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply


August 24 2010 at 2:41 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Angelica's comment

and this is opposed to a corrupt conservative gov how???

August 24 2010 at 3:37 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

This whole thing sounds like a major smear campaign all around - or at best a sordid mess. Can we start running campaigns on issues and answers???? That includes both parties!!!

August 24 2010 at 1:50 PM Report abuse +15 rate up rate down Reply

The vice president Dan Quale was totaly and unfairrily treated by the ignorant mass of stupid pundits...he is a man of culture, and kind intentions that never could been understood by the uncultured minds of the illiterate pundits....His son, I HOPE WILL WIN HIS SEAT I WILL BE VOTING FOR HE AND I HOPE HE CAN HELP ENRASE THE BARBERIC MENTALLITY THAT EXISTES IN WASHINGTON.

August 24 2010 at 1:42 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ibabini's comment

Or maybe it's because the American public figured out that Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin just are not very intelligent.

August 24 2010 at 3:11 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Obama the worst President? Is Ben the rich kid forgetting President(s) BushCheneyRove, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, U.S. Grant, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Millard Fillmore and the list goes on and on. Ben Qualye knows his history about as well as his dad knows how to spell "Potato". J. Danforth Quayle was known as the dumbest Vice President in the 20th century, Ben is following in Danforth's footsteps.

August 24 2010 at 1:39 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to salmo60's comment

Obama is the worst president. He has spent more on entitlements in the last 18 months than the entire Iraq war.

August 24 2010 at 6:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

What exactly was the "slanderous attack" on young Quayle? He admitted he lied about posting on "The Dirty", and he admitted the 2 little girls in his ad are not his children........although the ad implies they are. Where is the slander?

August 24 2010 at 1:31 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>