Well, Jim Matheson has a new TV ad running in which he’s endorsed by some relatively well-known Republicans who say he’s their pick over Mia Love, his GOP opponent. They include former Republican legislators, a couple of mayors, and a business leader.
The former legislators are Kory Holdaway and Steve Mascaro. The mayors are Bill Applegarth and Cherie Wood, from Riverton and South Salt Lake, respectively.
The business leader in the new Matheson ad is Zions Bank President & CEO Scott Anderson. Now, Zions Bank is not identified in the ad, and does not endorse Matheson itself. The bank’s PAC has, in fact, donated to both the Matheson and Love campaigns. So this is Anderson speaking on his own.
Anderson has been a moderating presence in Utah politics for some time. He’s worked on major issues of the day, like the Utah Compact on immigration.
Anderson carries a lot of weight on Utah’s Capitol Hill, and legislators listen to what he and Zions Bank have to say.
Various folks in the ad say “think for yourself” and “do the right thing” in voting for Matheson, who is considered one of the more moderate-to-conservative Democrats in the U.S. House, and is co-chairman of the dwindling Blue Dog caucus of conservative Democrats.
In the ad you see Holdaway, who was a moderate Utah House member from the Jordan area of Salt Lake County before he resigned to become the government affairs manager for the Utah Education Association, the main teacher union in the state.
A special education teacher for years, Holdaway was a member of the so-called “Mainstream” GOP House caucus before it basically faded away as Republican moderates were either defeated in re-election from GOP challengers from their right or just retired.
Also on the ad is former Republican Utah House member Steve Mascaro, also from the Jordan area of the valley. He was defeated two years ago in the Salt Lake County Convention by Ken Ivory, one of the most conservative, strict constitutionalists now in the Utah House.
At that 2010 convention – which saw the rise of the Tea Party delegates -- several Republican state senators either spoke on behalf of Ivory or stood up with him against Mascaro in speeches before the county delegates.
Mascaro has no love for the folks running the Salt Lake County Republican Party nor conservatives who drove him from office.
City offices are officially nonpartisan, but Riverton City Mayor Bill Applegarth, an avowed Republican, and South Salt Lake City Mayor Cherie Wood, also a self-described Republican, say in the ad that Matheson fights for Utah and does what he thinks is right.
Applegarth says he’s voting for Mitt Romney for president and asks fellow Republicans to join him in also voting for Matheson.
Or course, Love has Romney’s personal endorsement and has for several weeks been running a TV ad in which Romney is conducting robo-calls into 4th Congressional District homes asking that they vote for Love Nov. 6.
Finally, there is Marjorie Conder, who is listed in the Matheson ad as a GOP delegate. (It doesn’t say whether she is a county or state delegate. Only state delegates got to vote in the 4th District contest in last May’s state GOP convention where Love unexpectedly got more than 60 percent of the vote and knocked out her other GOP challengers.)
A web search finds this exchange on well-known GOP blogger Kent Larsen’s site “Times and Seasons” which blends politics with LDS religion:
On May 18, 2010, Conder writes, “I was not at this (2010 state GOP) convention, in fact I am an avowed Mugwump politically.” (A Mugwump was a Republican who broke with the national Republican Party in 1884 to support the anti-corruption Democratic presidential candidate Grover Cleveland.)
She continues: “My information comes from several delegates who were there, including a couple who are probably considered RINOs and at least a couple who were in favor of disenfranchising the RINOs. The next day at Church I heard some comments expressing real excitement that there was now a real chance to get rid of the RINOs.
“While there were multiple issues surrounding the ouster of (U.S. Sen. Bob) Bennett, at least one issue was that he was not conservative enough and therefore a RINO, even though on the national scene he is viewed as quite conservative.
“At minimum there seems to have been an effort to intimidate and marginalize all but one faction of the party. Kent (Larsen) is correct that if this movement even substantially succeeds the party as a whole will eventually marginalize itself.”
Let’s hope that Conder – and other Republicans in the ad – don’t face the official party “sanctions” of previous Republicans who endorsed a Democrat.
You may recall that a decade ago several Salt Lake County Republicans who endorsed Democrat Randy Horiuchi – who was running for a top county office – were called on the carpet. Several who were party precinct chairs or delegates were stripped of their party offices – only to see those reactionary county GOP bosses in turn heavily criticized.
In any case, Matheson’s re-election clearly hinges on nominal 4th District Republicans split-ticket voting, picking him over Love while at the same time voting for other Republicans – like Mitt Romney – on the ballot.
Finally, a conflict of interest note here: Zions Bank is a sponsor of UtahPolicy.com and has been for years.