Matheson Eyes Statewide Bid in Utah

Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:10pm

Utah Rep. Jim Matheson (D) is considering running for higher office, he told the Deseret News.

If he does not run for re-election, he might challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch or Gov. Gary Herbert, both Republicans.

“I know I’m going to be running for office in Utah,” Matheson said. “All three of those offices are still on the table.”

No Democrat has been elected to the Senate from Utah since 1970. And the last Democrat elected governor in Utah was in 1980, when Matheson’s father, Scott Matheson, won a second term. But the six-term Congressman said he believes both GOP incumbents could be vulnerable against the right Democrat.

“When I get involved in a political race, I always run to win. I feel pretty confident about the record I’ve established and how the people of Utah feel about me. I think if I’m in a race, I have a good opportunity,” Matheson said.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R) said recently that he, too, is considering running for a new office. There could be three open House seats if both Matheson and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) run for higher office, as the state is also adding a seat through reapportionment.

Chaffetz has said he will announce whether he will challenge Hatch at the end of the summer.