UT-2: Morgan Philpot vs. Jim Matheson

You should know by now that I'm on the warpath about Democrat-held seats in blood red districts. There are 69 Democrat held seats that have a net positive Republican partisan voting index (PVI). There are only 8 Republican-held seats that are in similar Democratic territory. We could take back all those seats, not capture anything in Democrat territory, and take back the House with 29 seats to spare. 

Over the coming days, I'll outline exactly where I think the "sleeper" seats are, and this past weekend, one more popped on my radar: Utah's 2nd Congressional district. 

You might be asking why Utah, one of the most Republican states in the Union, sends a Democrat to Congress, and it's a good question. In a year when Republicans got massacred, McCain still managed 58% of the vote in the Salt Lake City-based UT-2, making it #5 on my PVI-ordered list of Republican targets for 2010.

The vulnerability for now rests on the Democratic side of the ledger. In a sidenote to Bob Bennett's ouster at the state Republican Convention last weekend, Blue Dog Democrat incumbent Jim Matheson was forced into a primary with pro-HCR liberal Claudia Wright. In a shocker, Matheson only managed 55% among party insiders against an opponent with $9K cash on hand. 

The Republican nomination fight is clearer: Morgan Philpot managed to clear a primary and is the nominee. We need to get behind him with our dollars now.

In a wave year, I'm watching for dozens of mini rogue "waves" to take out incumbents previously thought safe -- think of how Rosty was famously ousted in 1994, or Joseph Cao's shock victory against Dollar Bill Jefferson, or races like Tim Walz vs. Gil Gutknecht or Nancy Boyda vs. Jim Ryun in 2006 that were basically thought safe. 

Philpot is an appealing grassroots candidate who could capitalize on a national wave and take the seat, particularly if Matheson is defeated in the primary. 

One suggestion is for Republicans to re-register to vote for Wright in the Democratic primary, making this seat a lay-up in the fall. After Alan Mollohan's 12-point thumping in West Virginia and Arlen Specter's fade in Pennsylvania, I wouldn't be so sure that Matheson is a shoo-in here. This would mean voters foregoing the Republican primary between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater, but let's face it, the UT-2 Congressional race is the only one that will change the color on the map from that state this fall. 

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Patrick says...

"You might be asking why Utah, one of the most Republican states in the Union, sends a Democrat to Congress, and it's a good question."

No, Patrick.  I don't ask this question. When the constituency wants their elected reps to move rightward but instead the elected reps move toward the center just so they can get along in DC, well the elected reps get punished at the ballot box.  Throw the bums out.  That's just the way it is.  That's how Obama got into the White House.  Big Tent Moderate Rino's literally handed it to him in '08 because they had turned their backs on those who elected them.  John McCain has finally realized this in his present AZ struggle.    No, there was no grand strategy on Obama's  part,  he simply accepted the gift that the GOP handed him.   Its not complicated.  The question I "ask", has the GOP learned its lesson?  I'm not convinced they have. DD

Well, if nothing else

Well, if the Republicans have not/are not learning any electoral lessons, if nothing else maybe the Democrats are learning a lesson on policies that American will not support.  

But the Republican voters cannot stay away from elections and voting just because they don't like McCain or some Rino candidate.   They have to hold their nose and vote against the Socialists and not drop out and watch the results of their inaction.

Chairman Bow is the result of not quite liking a 100% of a Republican candidates profile on issues.   And we have to do all of this terra forming at the grass roots level without the assitance of the old media, starting at the school board level and moving upwards thru the County/State elections.