The son of former Vice President Dan Quayle and his Democratic opponent in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District focused on questioning each other’s character in their only televised debate Wednesday, doing little to differentiate themselves on the issues.
Democrat Jon Hulburd got things started by grilling Republican Ben Quayle on his involvement with a sex-steeped Arizona website, repeatedly asking him why he would want to draw Internet traffic to the racy site.
Quayle never answered the question during the debate or later with reporters, saying only he regretted his involvement with the site and is “kind of a satirical guy.”
Quayle had first denied writing for the website previously called DirtyScottsdale.com. He later admitted contributing to the site, which posts photos of the raunchier aspects of the city’s nightlife.
During the debate, Quayle accused Hulburd of lying in campaign ads, including one that said Quayle touted himself as a family man with children in a mailer to voters. The mailer included a photo of Quayle’s wife and two girls, along with the words, “We are going to raise our family here.” Quayle has no children; the girls were his nieces.
Quayle said the mailer clearly stated he lives in Scottsdale with only his wife and dog.
“You guys played that up, you got a little cute, and you got caught,” Hulburd told Quayle.
The same ad said of Quayle: “No wonder Quayle once said, ‘My moral compass is so broken I can barely find a parking lot.”
But Quayle called that a lie, saying he never made the statement.
The two candidates, along with Libertarian Michael Shoen, recorded the debate for KAET-TV’s Horizon show, set to air at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Amid the questions of character, the two candidates touched on the economy and immigration but didn’t get too specific about what they would do if elected.
Both said the border needs to be secured before comprehensive immigration reform is passed, both would support tax cuts, and both said they disagreed with the U.S. government’s giant bank bailout.
Quayle said President Barack Obama’s economic policies have made for a jittery private sector and that certainty needs to be brought back to the marketplace so companies can take risks and grow. Hulburd said he thinks green jobs need to be emphasized in Arizona.
Shoen criticized both of them, saying tax cuts will only increase the U.S. deficit and vulnerability, and that expenditures need to be cut.
Quayle’s father is former vice president and Paradise Valley resident Dan Quayle. The elder Quayle has pulled in cash support for his son from well-known Republicans from across the nation. Ben Quayle, 33, grew up in Indiana and Washington, D.C., and now works as a lawyer and managing director of a Scottsdale investment firm.
He gained name recognition in the primary for a hard-hitting ad calling Obama the “worst president in history.”
Hulburd, 50, is a longtime Phoenix lawyer who also ran an import business.
The 3rd District covers parts of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek and Carefree and is normally strongly Republican. GOP-registered voters outnumber Democrats by about 50,000, and another 114,000 are registered independent.