Bill Dew

Former homebuilder Bill Dew, a Republican, announced Monday that he will challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson in the 2nd Congressional District.

Matheson, a four-term Democrat, represents a district that covers the southeast part of Salt Lake County, a small northeastern part of Utah County, and, in a horseshoe-shaped area, eastern, southeastern and southwestern Utah.

This is Dew's first run for elective office. A millionaire through his homebuilding business, Dewbury Homes, Dew said he is willing to "spend substantial" amounts of his own money in the race. He declined to give a number.

Matheson has been challenged by wealthy Republicans before. However, his narrowest victory came in 2002 after the GOP-controlled Utah Legislature redrew the 2nd District to include rural Utah. Matheson handily won re-election in 2006 and 2004.

Dew, who has been a GOP state delegate and precinct chairman, said he decided to run this year because he is concerned about the national debt and deficit. "I believe I can win through hard work and telling the truth," said Dew, who announced his candidacy in the state Capitol.

"The future of our children is at risk" because of irresponsible spending by Congress, he said. "I will work for a balanced budget."

"What is good for the individual is good for the country," Dew said in a short speech at the Capitol. "If an individual must live within his or her means, then common sense tells us that the government must not spend more than it takes in."

The theme of his campaign is "Back to Common Sense."

Dew said the best people to make decisions on education are parents, teachers and local administrators. "I will work to let the people of Utah decide how best to educate Utah's children."

Matheson is likely to be unopposed in his own party. Republicans will meet in a May state convention to either award the nomination outright or winnow the field down to two, who would face each other in a closed primary the end of June.

Dew, 56, has 20 years of work in the Boy Scouts, earning the Silver Beaver award. He and his wife, the former Jolene Christensen, recently returned from a two-year humanitarian mission in Jordan for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Having run a successful business, raised a family and served his church, Dew said, he now seeks public service.