Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah — who remains in U.S. Senate leadership until Dec. 31 — warns there is little likelihood that the compromise plan will make it through the lame-duck congressional session.
Governor Huntsman is worried of those new Democrats in Congress:
"They could move forward unilaterally and take care of voting rights in Washington, without any kind of commensurate increase in representation for Utah," the Republican governor said. He called that prospect a "worst-case scenario."
"We have an open window. And it's going to close very quickly," Huntsman said.
So Huntsman is turning up the heat on the Utah legislature, and they aren't playing ball
"We were being asked by Congress to have an up-or-down vote on a map drawn in the back room," Senate President John Valentine said Tuesday. "We're just not going to do that. . . . We really felt like it was important to have the process include public participation. We were not willing to just play Whac-a-Mole with the Congress."
Instead, state legislators may hold public hearings on the proposed map and then vote on it by Dec. 4 as a way to advance the tandem Utah/D.C. plan.
At least one member of the statehouse circulated a letter Tuesday calling the proposal the "fourth seat slippery slide," slamming the idea as one that would eventually hurt Utah and boost Democrats.
"In return for a Western, Republican Utah seat for possibly four years [until we get it legitimately in 2012] we give Washington, D.C., and the Eastern Democrats an extra seat forever," said outgoing Rep. David Cox, R-Lehi. "That doesn't seem like a fair trade."
Dang! A State Representative who is a Republican is either reading my blog, or came to the same conclusion independently (given my traffic, I will opt for number 2). Moreover, Democrats would lock up the 2nd district, Matheson or no Matheson, and free up Jim to run in the new 4th or the new 3rd. My dream is that he takes out Chris Cannon and we get a progressive Democrat to represent the new Second. And then when Hatch or Bennett dies, he wins the open Senate seat.
Meanwhile, the DC democrats are dumb enough to think this will hurt Matheson. Jim can win in almost any district in the state now fairly easily. His ads and person are known statewide and is approval ratings are second only to the nation's most popular governor. What is Matheson's official line?
Matheson, who favors a nonpartisan redistricting commission to make any district changes, says he will vote for any bill that gives Utah a fourth seat now, regardless of how the Legislature's redistricting may affect him personally.
Utah over his political career, principle over personal. That is why Jim won with the biggest margin of all the Congressional races this year.