Utah District 2 Representative Jim Matheson-D knows he’ll run for office again next year. The question is will he try for a seventh term in the US Congress? With the Utah Legislature’s Redistricting Committee busily looking for ways to further weaken more liberal Salt Lake County, Matheson may just look elsewhere.
Matheson says he is considering running for Governor. His father, the last democrat to hold the office – elected in 1980, was one of the state’s most popular and well-respected in our history. His brother ran against Jon Huntsman and lost, but current Governor Gary Herbert is having trouble within his own party. With two veto overrides and being booed at the Utah County GOP convention, Herbert has a big hill to climb toward his first full term. There are rumblings about Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart-R going after Herbert. Lockhart’s success will hinge on how well voters remember HB477, and her role in “not doing anything illegal.” Will voters consider the difference between what is “illegal” and what is “wrong”? Time will tell.
Matheson is also looking at Orrin Hatch’s senate seat, something being eyed by more republicans than democrats. Polls indicate Utahns are ready for a change, but can Jim Matheson beat Orrin Hatch or Hatch’s expected opponent District 3 Representative Jason Chaffetz? Chaffetz is popular with conservative republicans, and they will do all they can to run the show at the nominating convention next year.
If Chaffetz decides (and he says he will, soon) to run against Hatch, and Matheson abandons his house seat, that leaves three of Utah’s four congressional seats wide-open. Every republican from Carl Wimmer to Dave Clark is salivating at the thought. But will democrats just give up when Salt Lake County is divided into four and the only thing close to the left in Jim Matheson is gone? It’s been more than 40 years since Utah had a Senator who is a democrat. Come on, Utah, there has got to be somebody out there – Luz Robles, Ben McAdams, Patrice Arent – willing to fight for the many who try to be heard but have no voice.
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Source: Roll Call, Salt Lake Tribune