Monday, June 21, 2010

Utah Blackjack

Ed Kilgore describes the situation in Utah's 2nd district like this: Rep. Jim Matheson, a Blue Dog who opposed health care reform, is facing a primary challenge from Claudia Wright, who has solid left-wing views and is an out lesbian. Matheson tends to do pretty well in general election races, getting over 60% of the vote for the first time in 2008, but this is going to be a tough year for Democrats. I don't know how strong Republican opponent Morgan Philpot is, but he's a former state party vice-chair and state rep, so he's not some Alvin Greene character. Kilgore:
The recent Deseret News poll shows Matheson leading Wright 52-33. He is very likely to win, but even so, a close race will be interpreted as a leading indicator of the peril moderate-to-conservative Democrats court by opposing major progressive initiatives, even in a place like Utah.
Given that there's a major risk of Democrats losing the House this year, is the optimal outcome is for Wright to get as close to 50% as possible without hitting it and beating Matheson? That gives you more juice for the party discipline story, without actually raising the chances of Boehner becoming Speaker and turning the House into a chamber of obstructionist horrors for the rest of Obama's first term, right? Just given the poll numbers, I think this means 'vote for Wright' but I'm not in touch with the situation on the ground.
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