Friday, February 17, 2012

Congressman BEN QUAYLE: The Road Ahead

Dear Friends, Supporters and Voters of Arizona's Pending 6th Congressional District:

Perhaps you have heard by now that I will be seeking re-election to Congress in the newly-drawn 6th Congressional District. Tiffany and I gave careful consideration to these decisions -- first, whether to run again and second, to evaluate the final lines drawn in the redistricting process.

In the end, the decision was easy for us. The work to be done in Washington obviously remains, and having served there now for a brief time we feel called to continue building on what we have begun. Our country is facing the most serious of challenges at home and abroad. Arizona needs faithful representation and strong voices against an overbearing executive branch, and the same motivations that moved me to seek a congressional seat two years ago have only grown stronger with the experience of a year in Washington and the joyful birth of our first child a few months ago. Our daughter, Evie, joins her cousins to form the fifth generation of our family to live in Arizona.

The decision to run in the new 6th District boiled down to one simple fact: nearly 70 percent of our current district, District 3, has been drawn into District 6. These are the Arizonans who elected me to Congress in 2010; these are the Arizonans I have been serving and learning from since; and these are the Arizonans whose values, hopes and aspirations we share. They know us and we know them. These constituents comprise the communities which will support us in the hard work of putting Washington and the arrogant, self-interested elements who have corrupted it in their proper place.

I explained this in last week's announcement of our course. I also issued a sincere call to current District 5 Representative David Schweikert, who has chosen to run in District 6, and any other Republicans who might join the race, to join me in a campaign which honors our party with its tone and brings clarity to the critical issues facing our state and nation.

I am sorry to report in this correspondence that the Schweikert campaign has, to put it mildly, declined the invitation. 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.

The 6th District does not belong to David, as his campaign communications assert, nor does it belong to me or to any office seeker. It belongs to the people who live there. David's claim to ownership of this district is as weak as it is unflattering to him. Only about 30 percent of his current constituents live in this district. In fact, a large majority of David's current constituents -- more than 60 percent -- live in the newly drawn District 9.

Now, in contrast with the Schweikert campaign, despite this fact we have not presumed to tell him where he ought to run. Nor have we falsely asserted the interests of the Republican Party in telling him where to run. But if one wished to do that, the case is much stronger that David should run in District 9, where a majority of his current constituents live.

Unfortunately, though, that would not be in the best interests of the party either, because the Schweikert campaign apparently has a hard time telling the truth and would therefore surely lose.

Among the falsehoods in the emails sent by the Schweikert campaign were the assertions that we have conducted polling in the 9th District, when, in fact, we have conducted no polling at all in any district; and that our campaign headquarters is located there, when, in fact, it is not. If you see the candidate or members of his team, you might ask them for evidence for these assertions. None exists; none could exist. They simply fabricated these things and emailed them to voters.

Rep. Schweikert announced he would move to the 6th District when his own residence had at that point been drawn out of it. The redistricting commission drew my residence out of it by a matter of a few hundred feet, so that our residence is in one district and the church to which we walk on Sunday is in another. We will in due course move our residence to rejoin the constituents from whom we have been momentarily separated by the new line.

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.

Very best regards to all of you,

Ben Quayle

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