Josh Romney, son of former presidential contender Mitt Romney, says he's been approached about running for Congress against incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah. He says he hasn't ruled out the possibility.Josh is one of the few Romneys that still lives in Utah and would pit Utahn's professed love of Mitt against their professed love of Jim.
"I haven't ruled it out," Josh Romney, 32, of Millcreek, said of becoming a candidate himself. "I'm pretty young, but I've had good experience on the campaign trail." Plus, he said, he likely could count on his father's supporters here in Utah.As of the end of 2007, Jim Matheson has $859,823 cash-on-hand and won 59% of the vote two years ago. Plus, he is now in the majority and could get more dough if he is a target given that he is on a big committee and the Democrats are going to hold onto the House and Senate next year (and seem likely to gain seats). So that is the downside for Josh. The upside is that he will have plenty of free press and easy ability to raise money.
He also has to consider whether he's ready to take on the rigors of another race and spend more time away from his wife, Jen, and their three children, Owen, 1; Wyatt, 3; and Gracie, 5; as well as his career in real estate development.
Josh Romney is the only one of the family's five sons who lives in Utah. His father, who served as the head of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, was considered a "favorite son" presidential candidate in Utah.
Mitt Romney collected more contributions in Utah than in any other state except California and won Utah's Feb. 5 GOP primary with 90 percent of the vote. He and his family are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as are the majority of Utahns.
This is probably the most serious challenge Jim has ever faced, but now he is in his 4th race for Congress has built up a reserve of good will from people all over the district. And the standard attacks that have been trotted out against him have failed spectacularly in years past. Nevertheless, Utah was pretty immune to the big Democratic wave last year so another wave this year might not make any difference here. I would be really worried for Jim if Mitt was still in the race, but then again, Josh would be working for his dad if Mitt could still win the nomination.
The irony is that if Republicans had the Democrats' rules for delegate selection, Romney would have been in Obama's boat after Super Tuesday--essentially tied--and if Democrats had used the Republican rules Clinton would be in McCain's position. But since things aren't reversed, Obama is now in the lead for the Democrats and McCain is going to be the GOP nominee.
Jim Matheson hasn't decided whom to support this time as a superdelegate. Last cycle, he supported Gen. Wesley Clark, who is hoping to be Hillary Clinton's VP pick. Sadly for Clark however, that prospect looks unlikely, but he didn't say anything bad about Obama so he still could have a good position in an Obama Administration.
As for Jim, I think he would survive against Josh Romney, but it would be a lot uglier than his races in the past four years.