A victim of redistricting, Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., decided to run in the less competitive neighboring district earlier this year, giving fellow Republican Rep. David Schweikert some stiff competition in today's primary thanks in part to some help that the freshman is getting from an mysterious outside group. The two sitting congressmen have battled for the Arizona’s sixth district for several months now with outside groups spending almost over $900,000 on the race.
The vast majority of the outside money — $745,000 — has come from one super PAC, Friends of the Majority. Created in April 2012, the group has so far spent only on ads against Schweikert, documents from the Federal Election Commission show.
The super PAC, which has been running radio and TV ads, is headed by Dr. Paul Mazzeo, a neurologist from Port Royal, S.C., who up until now at least has not had much of a political profile. Mazzeo, who has yet to respond to Sunlight's requests for comment, seems to be a novice to the world of political giving: He doesn't show up in Sunlight's Influence Explorer, which compiles records of state and federal campaign donations. Why would a doctor from South Carolina will be the treasurer of a super PAC clearly in favor of Quayle, an Arizona congressman and the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, a relatively little-known Indiana senator when George H.W. Bush picked him as his running mate in 1988. The only hint of an Arizona connection seems to come from Mazzeo's Facebook friends list. Here, he lists Maria Syms as one of his friends. Syms is running for mayor in Paradise City, Ariz., and Mazzeo and his wife have made a small donation to her campaign. Paradise city is in Quayle's congressional district. More searches on the same social networking site revealed that Syms is Facebook friends with Tiffany Quayle, the congressman's wife.
Another Quayle connection to Friends of the Majority is the $50,000 donation from the Ben Quayle’s sister, Corinne Quayle. Some other major super PAC donors include Foster Friess ($25,000), a patron of right-leaning causes. The group has run several radio and TV attack ads and has a bubblegum-pink hued website politicalsoulmate.com.
Other than the Schweikert-Quayle race, super PACs have spent another $6 million on Arizona’s House and Senate races. In the Senate race, between Jeff Flake and Wil Cardon, some $1.4 million has been spent so far with the Club for Growth’s various arms dumping just over $1 million on ads opposing Wilford and $111,000 supporting Flake.
The Republican leaning non-profit Club for Growth and its super PAC arm have also spent on the state’s 4th Congressonal District, where both fiscal conservatives and Democratic groups are working to submarine freshman Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.
The Arizona-8, race that heated up after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, decided not to run for re-election, has seen the most from outside groups so far. Although, not a primary match-up like the other races in the state, both the party committees are spending liberally on getting their candidate elected.