Matheson’s Exit Likely to Result in GOP Pickup

Seventh-term Utahn is the first House Democrat to announce his outright retirement next year.

National Journal
Scott Bland
See more stories about...
Scott Bland
Dec. 17, 2013, 10:07 a.m.

Rep. Jim Math­eson, D-Utah, an­nounced Tues­day he will re­tire after 2014, mean­ing Demo­crats will likely cede his heav­ily Re­pub­lic­an-lean­ing dis­trict in the next elec­tion. Math­eson is the first House Demo­crat to out­right re­tire; the oth­er Demo­crats not run­ning again are seek­ing high­er of­fice next year.

Pres­id­ent Obama won just 30 per­cent in Math­eson’s dis­trict in 2012, the low­est share in any Demo­crat­ic-held dis­trict and Obama’s 25th-worst dis­trict na­tion­wide. Math­eson’s Blue Dog mod­er­ate vot­ing re­cord and brand name — his fath­er was Utah’s gov­ernor three dec­ades ago — barely pro­tec­ted him from the Re­pub­lic­an tide: Saratoga Springs May­or Mia Love, who is run­ning for the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion again in 2014, fin­ished few­er than 1,000 votes be­hind Math­eson.

Love has been rais­ing money and cam­paign­ing for months already and now be­comes one of the biggest early fa­vor­ites to join the House as a fresh­man in 2015. She would be the first Afric­an-Amer­ic­an Re­pub­lic­an wo­man in Con­gress if she wins.

Mean­while, Math­eson’s re­tire­ment con­tin­ues the de­cline of two over­lap­ping Demo­crat­ic groups: Blue Dogs and Demo­crats who op­posed Nancy Pelosi’s bid to con­tin­ue lead­ing their caucus after the elect­or­al shel­lack­ing of 2010. There are just 15 Blue Dog Demo­crats in the House now, down from 26 in the pre­vi­ous Con­gress and 54 in the Con­gress be­fore that. Mean­while, 19 Demo­crats pub­licly op­posed Pelosi for speak­er on the House floor in Janu­ary 2011, and Math­eson will be­come the 11th to leave the House at the end of his term.

What We're Following See More »
PHOTO OP
Clinton Shows Up on Stage to Close Obama’s Speech
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.

‘DON’T BOO. VOTE.’
Obama: Country Is Stronger Than Eight Years Ago
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."

‘HILLARY CLINTON HAS A PASSION’
Kaine Sticks Mostly to the Autobiography
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.

TRUMP IS A ‘CON’
Bloomberg: Neither Party Has a Monopoly on Good Ideas
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."

TRUMP’S ‘CYNICISM IS UNBOUNDED’
Biden: Obama ‘One of the Finest Presidents’
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."

×