Congressman Schweikert: Sen. McCain 'uninformed'

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Congressman David Schweikert said Wednesday that the scathing criticism leveled on his campaign by Sen. John McCain was, "uninformed"

Schweikert scored a big election victory Tuesday against fellow Congressman Ben Quayle in one of the nastiest primaries in the state.

During the race, McCain publicly scolded Schweikert for running a campaign he said, "crosses the boundary of decent political dialog and discourse."

Schweikert says the campaign was hard fought and when asked about McCain's comments on Tuesday, he said, "I actually think it was a little bit uninformed."

"I wished someone would have sat down the good senator and shown him the full breadth of what was going on both sides."

McCain's criticism stemmed from a mailer accusing Quayle of "going both ways" on the issues. The phrase is used to refer to someone who is bisexual.

The flier landed in mailboxes during a campaign focused more on name-calling than on the issues. Qualye's campaign, for example, routinely called Schweikert "dishonest Dave."

The tone of the race split many rank-and-file Republicans in Arizona's new 6th Congressional District.

"We had folks that endorsed us on our side that said tough things about the Quayle side and vise versa. Welcome to modern politics," he said.

Schweikert acknowledged he will have to work on repairing those relationships and said he'll try reaching out to McCain within the next week.

The political contest was one of the most watched primary battles in country. It pitted two incumbent Republicans against each other, with one of the candidates being the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle.

Schweikert handily won the election despite getting out spent. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Quayle raised more than $2 million to Schweikert's $1.5 million.

Schweikert did dump $130,000 of his own money into his campaign late in the race. He says he did that because special interest groups were spending big money to defeat him.

"The reality is we were starting to get outspent a few to one," Schweikert said Wednesday. "So we needed to step up and make sure we weren’t buried with that outside money."

The district, which takes in parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills, leans heavily Republican, which means Schweikert is the heavy favorite to win the general election in November.

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