Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yes, She Can-- Today... In Utah


Today's a big day in Utah. The Republicans have some kind of teabagger vs teabagger face-off to replace mainstream conservative Robert Bennett, who wasn't pure enough for the state GOP's lunatic fringe. Democrats have a primary pitting a populist grassroots activist, Claudia Wright, against a corrupt Blue Dog, Jim Matheson, who not only votes with Boehner as a default position-- or at least always did until Claudia came along with a serious challenge-- but also takes an ungodly amount of money from Big Oil and uses his perch on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to make sure his corporate buddies know their love is reciprocated. The former "energy consultant" (and governor's son) has bought right into Big Oil's legislative agenda... just like a Republican.

Meanwhile, former Salt Lake County Democratic Chairman Christian Burridge says Claudia's campaign is the best thing that's happened for Utah Democrats in years. Democratic Inside-the-Beltway hacks do not agree-- not one bit. Just as Obama was whining in his Saturday radio address how Republicans are obstructing his legislative agenda-- as they are, quite openly-- he was dispatching OFA to save Matheson's ass in Utah, even though Matheson has been one of the Democrats who most frequently joined Boehner and the obstruction-for-obstruction's-sake folks to vote against core Democratic values and principles. Matheson apologists manage to dig up a vote here and a vote there where he votes with the Democrats. Whoopppie! Are they going to campaign for Ron Paul too? Mike Castle? Will we see "OFA for Mark Kirk" signs sprouting up around Illinois any time soon? Will OFA take Mary Bono Mack's side against Steve Pougnet? After all, Bono Mack and Matheson passed each other as they crossed the aisle-- she going over to vote for Obama's signature climate legislation, Matheson running to Boehner to oppose it on behalf of his pals at Big Oil.

Anyway, these self-declared DC "professionals" have declared it is "impossible" for Claudia to win in November even if she beats Matheson today. Are they correct? Ray Matthews isn't a DC pundit or consultant. In fact, he lives in Utah-- which automatically negates anything he says to the Insider-the-Beltway types. But he writes that it is Matheson who can't win in November! "I wish," he writes, "I had that proverbial nickel for every time I heard from a Democrat, 'I’d vote for Claudia Wright, but it’s impossible for her to win against a Republican in Utah.' Yes, I admit, you can make a good case for that." But is Matheson as invincible as he portrays himself? Matthews says, and with the facts to back him up, that he isn't. and that Claudia Wright is as likely to beat Republican kook Morgan Philpot as Matthews is.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Public Opinion Strategies looked at the 70 House seats "experts" feel are mostly likely to change hands in November. UT-2 isn't on the list but a close look at the polling data-- if extrapolated to the district-- shows that if today was the general election instead of the primary, Matheson would lose to Philpot based on the fact that he's an incumbent. To their credit, Utahans-- based on recent electoral history-- are far more likely to toss out incumbents than voters in other state.
In the KSL Sunday Edition Debate broadcast today, Bruce Lindsay said that Jim Matheson “has the highest approval rating of any major political office holder in the state.” He was referring to the statewide Deseret News/KSL-TV poll taken by Dan Jones & Associates on March 22. Matheson’s approval rating was then at an astronomical 64 percent and his disapproval rating statewide was only 27 percent.

The impact of all these national trends will kick in after the June 22 primary when Republican sights become squarely aimed at the Democratic opposition. Matheson is viewed as vulnerable.

Jim Matheson was second on Politico’s list of incumbents who should be looking over their shoulders.

An interesting assessment by conservative blogger Red Diva concerning the primary is that Republicans ought to actually welcome a Matheson victory. She writes:

“Claudia Wright is listed as a Retired Teacher and PROGRESSIVE ACTIVIST. That means absolutely more of the same and worse in Washington if she should be elected to the seat. The Democratic incumbent, Jim Matheson, isn’t conservative by any means, but when compared to Ms. Wright I think it would be safe to call him moderate. In addition, I think he would be an easier target for voters in Utah to remove in November.”

...Utah primary voters might as well vote their conscience in the June 22 primary. For the first time in a decade a vote for Jim Matheson in November is not only not a sure thing, it's a probable lost cause. Barring some misfortunate personal scandal, the polling numbers indicate that the outcome of this election will likely be determined by the forces at work nationally to the benefit of the Republican candidate.

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At 9:54 AM, Blogger Morethanthree said...

She Can and SHE WILL! Claudia is a breath of fresh air in Utah and has taken the time to listen and SPEAK with the voters...something JM has not chosen to do since the State Convention in Salt Lake City.


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