Conservative Group: GOP Leadership May Be Favoring Ben Quayle Over David Schweikert

To the casual observer, Congressmen Ben Quayle and David Schweikert may seem like the same dude.

They're both freshman in the House, and they've voted the same in 94 percent of the 1,146 roll call votes they both voted on.

They're both running for the Republican nomination in Arizona's Sixth Congressional District, and have both bickered about each other since they made their decisions to run in the district.

Now the conservative political action committee Club for Growth -- which saw 20 of the 26 candidates it endorsed in 2010 get elected -- is warning GOP leadership not to attempt to defeat Schweikert by helping out Quayle.

It might be a bit late for that notice, but Club for Growth is threatening to help out Schweikert if GOP leadership keeps siding with Quayle.

The open letter from Club for Growth president Chris Chocola, sent to House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, sets out three demands -- don't pick a side in general, stay neutral in the "Young Guns" Super-PAC, and Boehner needs to donate $10,000 to Schweikert, as his PAC has already done to Quayle.

Chocola says his group is neutral in the race, but noting Boehner's $10,000 to Quayle, he says he's hoping it doesn't "signal" that they're trying to help Quayle, even though the money was sent before the two opted to run in the same district.

Reading between the lines, it appears Club for Growth thinks the GOP leadership's in for Quayle, and Chocola says his group's ready to support Schweikert:

Should it become apparent that you are choosing sides on behalf of Rep. Quayle, the Club for Growth PAC will consider it necessary to intervene on behalf of Rep. Schweikert," Chocola writes. "As is our practice, if the Club's PAC entered this primary, it is highly likely that our 75,000 members would donate considerably more funds to Rep. Schweikert's campaign than the Republican House leadership would contribute to Rep. Quayle's campaign.

It is our preference to remain on the sidelines of the Arizona race, as both candidates have fine records. However, we will not sit back and allow House Republican leaders to invest resources with impunity against an incumbent fiscal conservative like Rep. David Schweikert.  Rep. Schweikert stands for the principles of economic freedom even when members of his own party pressure him to do otherwise. If those same Republican leaders attempt to defeat him, the Club for Growth PAC will vigorously come to his defense.

This isn't the first time in recent weeks that GOP leadership has been accused of puckering up to Quayle, and leaving Schweikert on his own.

​Democratic Congressman Jim Himes raised the issue that Congressman Ben Quayle was being credited for a bill very similar to his own, saying Quayle's portion of the Republicans' JOBS Act being "nearly an exact replica" of a bill Himes authored.

Quayle's office denied the accusation to New Times, calling it "ridiculous," while the argument took to the House floor.

Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank claimed the bill had been "kidnapped" by Republican leadership from Himes -- and Schweikert. We were later told by Himes' office that Himes and Schweikert had collaborated on the bill.

"Apparently the Republican leadership decided it was Christmas in March," Frank said. "So they stole the bill from Mr. Schweikert and Mr. Himes, and made a present of it to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Quayle."

The entire letter from Club For Growth can be found here.

If you'd like to attempt to find some differences between Quayle and Schweikert, they've already begun holding debates, with another one scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley