Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Mitt Romney is heard but not seen a new TV ad for 4th Congressional District candidate Mia Love as part of a two-week blitz to sack six-term Rep. Jim Matheson.
The Republican mayor of Saratoga Springs uses Romney photos and his voice from a robocall in the 30-second spot.
"Mia is the only candidate in the race that will fight to reign in reckless spending and to lower taxes," Romney says as a phone rings. "I hope you'll join me in supporting Mia in the upcoming election so that Utah's voice can help lead this country back to an economic recovery."
Matheson said it's no surprise Love is trying to stand on Romney's shoulders because she can't stand on her own two feet. Romney and Love, he said, aren't on the same page on several issues, such as eliminating the U.S. Department of Education.
"I suspect Mitt Romney did not know where she was on these issues when he endorsed her in September," he said.
Matheson called his record on cutting taxes "top notch," adding that's why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports him.
University of Utah political science professor Tim Chambless said it will be interesting to see how the Romney ad plays in the new, untested congressional district. He noted Romney doesn't have 100 percent support in Utah, but also that the district is 62 percent Republican.
"Mia Love is associating herself very closely with Mitt Romney because she believes he has political coattails. The data indicate that he does," Chambless said.
By contrast, he said, Matheson continually emphasizes the strategy that has worked for him for 12 years, namely portraying himself fiercely independent and a Utah Democrat who is loosely associated with the national party and therefore does not invite in prominent, nationally known Democrats.
"The question is which strategy will work," Chambless said.
Love also has two GOP congressional leaders coming to Utah for a late-hour infusion of cash. She doubled the amount of money Matheson collected in the last quarter, but he had raised more overall in the election cycle as of Sept. 30.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will attend a $1,000-per-person roundtable discussion sponsored by the Utah Republican Party on Thursday at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. House Speaker John Boehner will make his second visit for a fundraiser Oct. 31 in South Jordan.
Matheson said he believes Boehner is not coming for Love personally but to win a House seat for the Republicans.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Arizona Sen. John McCain and now GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan also have headlined fundraisers for Love.
In addition to hitting the airwaves hard in the next two weeks, both candidates intend to mount a strong ground game. Love and Matheson will be out meeting voters, making phone calls and urging residents to the polls.
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