And in the 4th District, Hansen said, voters probably perceived the Love campaign as more negative, which worked against her.
The so-called Romney tsunami or the lack thereof also was a factor. Republicans were stunned that the GOP presidential candidate's coattails weren't as long as they had expected. Not only did Matheson win but so did Democrat Ben McAdams in the Salt Lake County mayor's race.
Hansen said the anticipated Romney effect was "more hype" then reality and might have actually driven Democrats to the polls.
Matheson said he trusts Utah voters to consider each contest individually.
"The presidential race is on one part of the ballot; the congressional race is on another," he said. "I've been on the ballot before when there's been strong Republican presidential candidates, but Utahns value their votes. They look at each race on on their own merits. That's why I succeed."
Whether Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, puts on the gloves again in a big arena remains to be seen. She did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
"I think she does have a future," Wright said. "It's a question of what she wants to do."
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