New Utah Map Could Force Matheson Out

Posted September 27, 2011 at 6:37pm

The Utah Legislature’s redistricting committee agreed on a plan today that would put Democrats in danger of losing their hold on one of the state’s districts.

The state gained a fourth district through reapportionment, and the new map would slice up Salt Lake County into three parts and include Salt Lake City in a district with all of southern Utah. The full Legislature, where Republicans hold sizeable majorities in both houses, still must approve the plan.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Democrats were “howling” in the meeting that the “pizza slice” plan dilutes the party’s influence in the one area of the state where it has any. Rep. Jim Matheson, the state’s lone Democratic Member of Congress, could decide that a run for statewide office is his best option.

“Based on the map I have seen, a race by me for Governor or for the Senate is still on the table,” Matheson said in a statement released by his Congressional office. “This is not a done deal, the Legislature makes the final call and I expect they will take another look at the map and do what is in the best interest of the state of Utah.”