On Tuesday, Utah Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson, a 7-term incumbent, announced he would retire at the end of his term, rather than seek reelection. Matheson, who represents the most Republican district held by a Democrat, has long been an election target and won reelection in 2012 by just over 700 votes. Political handicapper Charlie Cook has shifted the race from “Lean D” to “Likely R.”
“This is a warning signal to Democrats coast to coast,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Chair of the National Republican Campaign Committee said. “Not only will this announcement allow Republicans to focus our energy and resources on defeating other vulnerable Democrats, but it also proves that ObamaCare has become a total nightmare for any Democrat running in 2014.
“It’s telling that Matheson, who didn’t even vote for ObamaCare’s original passage, knows he can’t run and win in this climate,” Walden continued. “If it’s this bad for him, imagine how bad 2014 will be for the vast majority of Democrats who actually supported ObamaCare from its start.”
Matheson’s 2012 opponent, former mayor Rep. Mia Love (R-UT), was already preparing for a rematch in 2014. She is now a heavy favorite to capture the seat next November. Love would be the first African-American female Republican elected to Congress.