Monday, February 25, 2008

targeting the Mathesons

In 2004, Scott Matheson Jr. ran for Governor and had the misfortune of running against an as famous name--Jon Huntsman Jr. Now in 2008, it seems the Romneys are thinking of doing the same thing Scott's little brother Jim.
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.

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.
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.

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.


rmwarnick said...

I would give Josh Romney the same advice I e-mailed to Rep. Matheson's last opponent.

Run on a platform of upholding the Constitution. Propose the restoration of habeas corpus, vow to put everyone involved in authorizing torture in jail, close Guantanamo, stop warrantless surveillance on Americans.

That would get votes from die-hard conservatives like me. I'm not voting for Matheson anyway, he's on the wrong side of the Constitution.

Oldenburg said...

The only trouble with that advice is that his dad wants to "double Guantanamo." Resumably, Josh Romney is also in favor of warrantless wiretapping, extrodinary rendition, the Military Commissions Act, waterboarding, etc.

Jason The said...

I really hope this happens. If Mini-Romney were running for governor, I'd be worried (and sickened at the likelihood), but him running in a district that has been fairly supportive of Matheson would be nothing short of the funniest campaign to watch in the state's history.

The only thing better would be Tagg running.