Tales from the Trail

Arizona sends a Quayle back to Washington

November 3, 2010

The famous Quayle name is back in politics. Ben Quayle, the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, won a comfortable victory in Arizona’s strongly Republican Third Congressional District.

In his first run for office, the 33-year-old beat back a challenge from conservative Democrat John Hulburd to win the seat vacated by veteran Republican Rep. John Shadegg by a nearly 12-point margin.

His father served under senior President George Bush, and is perhaps best remembered for famously misspelling the word “potato” while campaigning in 1992.

USA-ELECTIONS/In a brief victory speech at a hotel in downtown Phoenix late Tuesday, Quayle tipped his hat to voter anger at soaring public deficits which helped the Republicans take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and clinch victory for him.

“When I decided to run for office … I saw our country being taken down a dangerous path where opportunities for future generations would be minimized,” Quayle, flanked by his wife Tiffany, told supporters.
   
“But now tonight we actually have let our collective voice be heard, and tonight we are going to turn that path around and put us going in the right direction,” he added, promising to work hard to meet voters’ expectations.  

Quayle, who runs a small investment company, had taken flak during the campaign over postings he made several years ago for a racy website in Scottsdale, and an ad stridently declaring President Barack Obama to be the “worst president in history.”
   
He was also criticized for his age and lack of experience, although Arizona Republicans furious at Washington incumbents said they saw merit in electing a newcomer.
   
“My hope is that, as he is an untried politician, he won’t behave like the people who are in there time-after-time, and that he’ll give a new look to the Republican Party,” said retiree Lois Andrews, 68, who cast her vote for Quayle in the Third District which spans north Phoenix and prosperous Paradise Valley.
   
Democrats took a hammering in Arizona, where Representatives Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick lost their House seats, and Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords were clinging on to razor thin leads on Wednesday with districts still to report. They saw little to celebrate in sending Quayle to Washington.
   
“I think somebody just pushed him out there because of his name,” said John Chiazza, 62, a registered Democrat in the Phoenix valley.

“He’s too fresh … He’s doesn’t have any sense of what’s going on. I don’t think he knows what he’s getting into.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott ( Ben Quayle celebrates his victory with his wife Tiffany in Phoenix.)

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