Two recent mailers sent by the Ben Quayle campaign contain some curious images and statements by the 33-year-old lawyer and flush-with-cash candidate in Arizona’s crowded 3rd Congressional District primary.
Quayle is depicted in playful scenes with two toddler-aged girls. Underneath one image, the text reads, in part: “Tiffany and I live in this district and we are going to raise our family here.”
It’s not a stretch to make the assumption that the cute tots – one sitting on his lap; the other sitting next to him – are his daughters. But that’s not the case. The recently married Quayle doesn’t have kids.
It’s not until you flip the mailer over to read that Quayle and his wife live in Phoenix with their dog, Louie. No mention of kids.
The second mailer, a pro-life piece that explains his staunch opposition to abortion and support of traditional marriage, contains the same image of the girls. But this time, there’s no disclaimer about Quayle not yet having kids of his own.
So is Quayle intentionally trying to leave voters with the impression that he’s a “family man”? It’s plausible.
He’s been a frequent target of many of his nine opponents – all of whom are older than him and have children – for what they call his thin resume and lack of life experience.
“I think you guys have got a lot of time on your hands,” said Quayle campaign spokesman Damon Moley. “They’re just terribly cute kids.”
The girls, he said, are relatives of a staff member and happened to be at a campaign event. Besides, images of kids and family are often used in campaign ads as a sort of short-hand way to illustrate pro-family and pro-life stances, Moley said.
UPDATE (Aug. 4): The Quayle campaign informed the Arizona Capitol Times that it initially provided inaccurate information about the kids. The girls are actually Quayle’s nieces, said spokeswoman Megan Rose, which she added is further evidence that Quayle was not intending to mislead voters about his family status. Incidentally, insiders who recognize the “Rose” name will probably note this interesting twist in the CD3 race: Rose is the sister-in-law of public-relations mogul Jason Rose, who happens to be helping to run the campaign of rival candidate Vernon Parker.
“We are presenting Ben as a pro-family candidate because he is a pro-family candidate,” Moley said. “We are presenting him as a traditional-values candidate because he is a traditional values candidate.”
To be sure, having kids is not a requirement of office. And there are plenty of candidates out there who have children yet are probably unfit to serve. But it’s reasonable that time-crunched voters could scan these mailers and walk away with the impression that Quayle has more life experience than he actually does.
Finally, Quayle, the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, makes the statement that he has “hands-on” experience bringing jobs to Arizona. Perhaps the mailer should say Quayle opened a business that employs about 13 people, give or take, depending on contracts with companies.
Quayle co-owns Tynwald Capital. That investment company opened an Arizona office of New England-based APG Security. The security company’s website says Quayle and his brother, Tucker, are managing partners in the security venture.
Moley said it currently employs 13 people, but that pending contracts could make that number go higher.
“It’s not Standard Oil,” he said. “But to the people that have those jobs, it’s very important to them.”
– Bill Bertolino
UPDATE (AUG. 5): In addition to attracting coverage from national media outlets, the popular conservative blog, RedState, has opined twice about the mailers.
The first was a broader piece by contributor Mike Paranzino, who said Quayle is not the right choice for CD3.
The second piece, also written by Paranzino, who once worked for such Republicans as U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl and former Congressman Matt Salmon, follows up on the reaction of the Quayle campaign to the mailers and has some new revelations involving Quayle’s Facebook page.