With nearly 200 days to go before the August 28 primary between Republican Congressmen Ben Quayle and David Schweikert in Arizona's newly formed sixth Congressional district, there's already drama.
It started earlier this week, with the Schweikert campaign sending an email to supporters about Quayle's intention to "carpetbag" into the new district, claiming "Arizonans have responded in backlash."
Schweikert's campaign claimed Quayle's home, campaign office, and Congressional office are all in the ninth Congressional district -- a district which won't be as friendly to Republicans as the sixth district come November.
Shortly after that, there was the Quayle response: "It didn't take long...in fact, it took less than 24 hours for our challenger to go negative.."
Quayle's camp also responded with some pie charts.
According to the Quayle charts, a little more than 67 percent of Quayle's current constituents will be in the new sixth district. Just under 61 percent of Schweikert's current constituents will be in the ninth district.
Then there was the long-winded view of the primary from Quayle, explaining his thoughts on the new district, and calling for some civility from Schweikert.
"I am sorry to report in this correspondence that the Schweikert campaign has, to put it mildly, declined the invitation," Quayle's email says. "Their response has been a sequence of emails which are manipulative at best but otherwise blatantly false, and relayed malignant talk in the community and to the press. While these communications openly speak ill of me, they really speak much more loudly about those who sent them. We have received a lot of calls and other input to that effect."
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Later, Quayle got a little sassy:
But the larger problem with the Schweikert campaign's actions has nothing directly to do with district lines and house locations. The larger problem is that a candidate seeking a high federal office would traffic in such half-truths and whole-cloth falsehoods, and still more that he would so readily seek to cast himself as a victim when he is simply another political candidate who has been inconvenienced by unfortunate events. These are common behaviors in Washington, but not those of effective leaders for conservative principles and values.
I urge the Schweikert campaign, once again, to turn away from these tawdry tactics and pretenses and commit itself to an honorable engagement around the very serious issues we face as a nation and a community. The voters who do in fact own District 6 deserve no less.
Unless either Congressman decides to make the (unlikely) switch into the less-friendly territory, there are only 195 days left of this stuff.