Jim Matheson has been the Harry Houdini of modern politics, a Democrat surviving in a heavily Republican Utah district which became even more Republican after the 2010 redistricting.

But he still beat Mia Love in 2012. By a few hundred votes. In Utah. With Romney at the top of the ticket.

Matheson put on the right show for the district, constantly voting against the Democratic agenda when his vote didn’t matter. He had the NRA behind him.

Matheson just announced on Facebook that he is retiring:

When I launched my first campaign in 1999, I knew that the arc of my public service would have many chapters. It has been a tremendous privilege to serve the people of Utah during my time in the United States House of Representatives, but my time in the House should not be the sum total of my service. Today, I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the House of Representatives.

So does this automatically mean Mia Love is the next Representative from UT-04.

Not necessarily. But she has shown an ability to defeat Republicans before.

This still is one of my favorite political ads ever, back in early 2012, before anyone knew her name or thought she had a chance:

From the Mia B. Love archives:

(Featured Image source: YouTube)