How does Love stack up against previous Matheson challengers?
Voters, he said, aren't pleased with Congress and the Obama administration and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will bring people to the polls. And Love is a "fresh, energetic, charismatic" candidate with a "compelling" story to tell, he said. She also has the backing of U.S. House leaders, and the National Republican Congressional Committee promised her $948,000 after Labor Day for TV ads targeting Matheson.
"I think you've go the perfect storm for someone to finally do it, to unseat Jim Matheson," said Swallow, who lost to Matheson by a mere 1,641 votes in 2002.
Philpot said when he ran in 2010 there were two races to run — one against the notion that Matheson couldn't be beat and another against the congressman himself.
"Mia doesn't have that. I think the perception is Jim can be beat. She doesn't have to win the campaign everyone else has had to win right off the bat," Philpot said.
Love has already shown herself to be a tough campaigner, having dispatched four candidates at the state GOP convention, including two high-profile former state legislators, Chambless said.
Matheson has held Utah's 2nd District for 12 years despite it being one of the most Republican in the country. Not much changed in that regard in the newly drawn 4th District where he has now cast his lot. The Blue Dog Demcorat has won by pulling independent voters and Republicans his way.
"I think people know I'm an independent voice. I always put Utah first," he said, adding he's willing to take on either party when necessary.
Jowers said he thinks 4th District voters would be happy with either Matheson or Love and wish that both could go to Washington.
"That is a great situation for voters, but murder for campaign consultants desperate to give their respective candidates the edge without alienating the undecided voters," he said.
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