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The Houdini of Congress is retiring – Jim Matheson (UT-04)

The Houdini of Congress is retiring – Jim Matheson (UT-04)

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)


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Mia Love would be a great addition to the House, and should probably be considered the frontrunner if she decides to run again.

Matheson’s incumbency and success had less to do with the NRA and more to do with his father having been a very popular two-term Governor. The name was just hard to beat.

We’ve spent over twenty years in this country making it stupidly easy to register and vote – motor voter, online registration, easy absentees, early voting, mail voting, etc. That the result is the worst informed electorate in our history should not be surprising.

With the high percentage of Low Information Voters, having a postive name recognition is a huge advantage in any race.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Estragon. | December 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Name recognition was the only reason Mark Dayton has been elected to statewide office in Minnesota. No one in the Democrat party wanted him back after he embarrassed himself and the state as a US Senator. On name recognition he eeked out a win in a multi candidate primary and then benefited from the Republic-Independence party warfare in the general election.

In my book she is far ahead of others who will now join in, to go after an open seat. She is a fighter, not an opportunist.
The others, whoever they may be, will strike me as Bobby Kennedy did, brave enough to get in the race once others demonstrated that Johnson could be beaten.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | December 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Has the Repub Party hinted yet at a readiness to spend heavily to defend the seat…against the Tea Party? 🙂

I wonder what new predations Matheson has in mind…???

I will send Love money. Precious, precious cigar money.

“Greater love hath no man…”

What ? He won’t run on Obamacare ????

I thought Mia Love was great. She actually went door to door talking to voters and seeing if they have any questions for her. It was kind of cool (she is much shorter than I thought she would be, too).

Utah is in some need of a change anyway. I can’t wait to see who will be leading us in the near future.

From Weasel Zippers, “…(Matheson) despite having trailed in one poll by 12 points heading into election day.” Which quite telling and probably translates in over “zealous” activity by the democrats to alter the outcome..

I think that Mia will be in good shape this time around..

As ‘Reid Wilson’ tweeted above, there are many state-level GOPers eyeballing the seat, but try to name one if you’re not from Utah. Only Mia Love has name recognition outside the state and accordingly draws a lot of money in. This is very big advantage. It will be interesting to see if the establishment, national GOP supports or attacks her in favor of a more centrist Utah GOPer.

Salt Lake City is largely liberal and predominantly Democratic. Utah, while still majority Conservative, and voting Republican, has a large (~40%) Democrat-voting population. It seems that all metropolitans have that predisposition. Perhaps it’s a side-effect of population density. They are more indebted to authority and redistributive schemes to maintain the peace.

If not for the Mia Love challenge (and the likelihood she’d win this time) Matheson would still be running. Sure there are other Republicans who want to have this seat, but they didn’t do the heavy lifting. See The Little Red Hen.

I was so disappointed when she lost in 2012. I hope she runs and wins and hope that the Republican Party is smart enough to back her.