After fourteen years in the US House of Representatives, Representative Jim Matheson announced today that he will not seek reelection.
“Today, I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the House of Representatives,” wrote Matheson on his Facebook account. Matheson, son of the late Utah Governor Scott Matheson, initially ran for the House in 2000 against Derek Smith, who unseated two-term incumbent Merril Cook in a primary. Campaigning on preventing nuclear waste from being stored in Southern Utah and working on smarter energy policies for Utah’s future, Matheson won with 56 percent of the vote.
Since his victory in victory in 2000, Matheson has sat on the Energy & Commerce Committee, including its subcommittees: Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, Health, and Communications and Technology. A political moderate, Matheson co-Chairs the Blue Dogs Coalition and been a longtime advocate for veterans issue and compromise between both parties.
After spending a combined total of $11.3 million, Matheson beat Mia Love, former mayor of Saratoga Springs, with a victory margin of less than 800 votes in 2012. In May 2013, Love announced her plans to run for the seat again.
Dave Hansen, Love’s campaign manager told Utah Policy Daily that he was was taken completely by surprise by the announcement. “I had a suspicion this kind of thing might happen, but I thought he would make the announcement much earlier than this.”
After the recent government shutdown, Matheson has seen a backlash by some Democrats for his decision to vote with the GOP to fund the government, with the exception of the Affordable Care Act.
Though Mathson’s tenure in the House ends in 2014, Matheson has made it clear that he isn’t done serving the state of Utah. “[M]y duty to our state and our country will undoubtedly continue,” wrote Matheson.