National GOP already targeting Rep. Jim Matheson for 2014

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 5:35 p.m. MST

Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, celebrates his victory over Mia Love in the 4th District race Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Salt Lake City.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — National Republicans have already painted a bull's-eye on Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson's back for the 2014 election.

The National Republican Congressional Committee identified the seven-term congressman as one of seven "vulnerable" Democrats it intends to go after. Those districts voted Republican in the last three presidential elections.

Those Democrats all share something in common: They do not fit their districts, according to NRCC Executive Director Liesl Hickey.

"The NRCC will amplify its efforts to educate voters about these mismatches and provide strong alternatives," Hickey wrote. "If the Democrats lose these districts, they are likely to be lost for a generation."

Matheson labeled his appearance on the NRCC list "the biggest non-news story of the day."

"I'm not surprised," he said, "but they don't know Utah. And quite frankly, while I have to work hard, I actually approach future elections with a lot of confidence because I think I faced the 'perfect storm' in this last election."

Not only was Matheson running in the state's new 4th District with GOP presidential candidate and Utah favorite Mitt Romney at the top of the ballot, he also faced a well-funded opponent in Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, who had strong backing from the national party.

"I won anyway. I don't think that perfect storm will ever play itself out like that again," said Matheson, whose margin of victory was 768 votes. "I have confidence if I work hard and serve (my constituents) well, then the politics will take care of themselves."

Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com, Twitter: dennisromboy

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