“The reason this seat is so important is because its holder is an automatic candidate for the U.S. Senate,” said Marcus Dell’Artino, a longtime GOP strategist and now a partner at the Phoenix-based FirstStrategic firm.

The 3rd District seat also served as Jon Kyl’s launching pad to the Senate and, with Sen. John McCain now in his 70s, it could easily play the same role for Quayle, Dell’Artino said…

The idea that Ben Quayle might find the House seat to be a useful steppingstone has become so prevalent that his Democratic opponent, businessman Jon Hulburd, has argued that voters who are uncomfortable with Quayle are better off supporting a Democrat to avoid the possibility of a long-term Quayle political career and give another Republican a shot at the seat in 2012.