Utah: Matheson to Face Wright in Primary

Posted May 10, 2010 at 6:10pm

While all eyes were on the Republican convention, where Sen. Bob Bennett was defeated, Democrats decided to require Rep. Jim Matheson to go through a primary for the first time.

Retired teacher Claudia Wright earned enough support at Saturday’s convention to keep the five-term Congressman from winning the nomination outright.

Party activists have been particularly upset with the Blue Dog Congressman’s votes against key Democratic initiatives such as the cap-and-trade and health care bills.

Whether this race becomes competitive in November will depend largely on how far left Matheson has to move in the primary. But with more than $1.4 million on hand, Matheson shouldn’t have a hard time drowning out Wright. She had just $9,000 in her campaign account in mid-April.

Republican Morgan Philpot won the Republican nomination outright at the GOP convention. Philpot is a former state Representative who has not shown much strength on the fundraising front.

The Republican convention also chose attorney Mike Lee and businessman Tim Bridgewater to run in the party’s Senate primary on June 22.

The only electoral path left for Bennett would be a write-in campaign.