Mia Love may have killed it at the Tampa Republican National Convention with a speech that’s made it rain campaign contributions on her bid for Democrat Jim Matheson’s 4th Congressional District seat, but Matheson is unimpressed by Love’s national support. “Ultimately, the election is decided in Utah and I have the financial resources to make sure I get my message out,” Matheson says.
Matheson spoke at a University of Utah forum Thursday, where his D.C.-update talk was peppered with jabs at his opponent, Mia Love, the current Mayor of Saratoga Springs, who has become the center of the national Republican Party’s attention in her challenge to Matheson.
Love, who if elected would become the first black, female Republican congresswoman, cashed in at the Republican National Convention after her spirited Tuesday-night speech. According to a campaign press release, Love has raised $175,000 since her speech, and her Twitter followers jumped from 8,000 before her speech to 15,000 as of Thursday. Her campaign “Likes” on Facebook also went from 9,000 before her speech to 19,000 Thursday.
The release also took the time-honored tack of linking the moderate Matheson with the leftier elements of his party that tend to get most Utahns blood boiling. “Those who support the Obama agenda – like my opponent and his liberal friends in Washington – have bought up millions of dollars in airtime to attack me,” Love’s press release reads. (A request for comment was sent to Love’s campaign that at the time of posting was not responded to; this post will be updated if the campaign responds.)
Matheson, however, shrugged off Love’s campaign attempt for trying to equate Matheson’s six terms in D.C. as being one spent in lockstep with the national Democratic Party, and likened it to previous attacks like the infamous “Matheson=Pelosi” signs that were pushed by his 2010 opponent, Morgan Philpot.
“A lot of this is exactly the same,” Matheson tells City Weekly. “Voters are looking for something more than this simplistic line of ‘this party, that party.’ I think the reason I’m successful is I do what I say I’ll do and be constructive and work with whoever’s got a good idea.”
Matheson touted his record of bypassing partisan gridlock at the forum and spoke of a bill he’s pushing with Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, to simplify the tax code to allow profits from U. S. companies offshore to be invested back in the U.S. without facing duplicative taxes. “It seems to me if we want U.S. companies to sell products abroad, we want them to bring those profits back to invest in plants, new equipment jobs, right? Seems pretty straightforward, but our tax code creates an incentive against that,” Matheson said.
Besides talking about the Republicans he’s collaborated with, Matheson also took the opportunity to throw a few jabs to his opponent Love, citing her record of raising taxes as the Mayor of Saratoga Springs and her claim of wanting to eliminate the U.S. Department of Energy. Matheson cited progress at finally cleaning up a hazardous pile of uranium tailings near Moab as proof of the value of the department.
“My opponent wants to eliminate the Department of Energy; I don’t know what that would mean for cleaning up the tailings pile in Moab. Would that mean we just don’t clean up our sites anymore?” Matheson asked.