Utah’s only Democratic state representative, Jim Matheson, has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2014.
Matheson first made the announcement in a facebook post. He said that it’s been a tremendous privilege to serve in the House and he’s thankful to his staff and family for their continued support. Matheson narrowly beat Republican Mia Love in the 2012 election, and would have faced a similar and costly fight if he had chosen to run for reelection. Utah Democratic Party Executive Director Matt Lyons says while they will miss Matheson, they’re confident the party will convince a viable candidate to counter Mia Love’s extreme conservative positions.
“And I think Utahns are really fed up with that style of politics," Lyons says. "What they’re looking for is a pragmatic person that is honest and straight forward and willing to roll up their sleeves and get the job done. Jim Matheson did that for a long time and there’s a lot of people on the Democratic side that represent that and represent that mentality and we’ll have one of them step forward to run.”
Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans says he was surprised by the announcement. He also says that it will have a considerable impact on their strategy for the 2014 elections.
“And since Congressman Matheson will not be running some of those resources of the Utah Republican Party will be allocated to other races to make help make sure we maintain the gains we attained in the Utah Legislature in 2012,” Evans says.
Matheson also said in his statement that his service to Utah and the nation is not over, implying that he might seek a different statewide office, possibly Governor or Mike Lee’s Senate seat in 2016.