Could Democrats Put Utah in Play?


As Democrats prepare for a long battle to maintain the White House in 2016, they are also looking at taking back Congress. The possibility of taking back the U.S House is a very difficult task due to republican gerrymandering, making it a long-shot. However, control of the U.S Senate is up for grabs in 2016 and Democrats have the clear advantage, while they only have to defend ten seats, the GOP will have to defend twenty four seats. States that represent a great chance of turning blue consist of Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. A new poll suggest that maybe with the right candidate, Democrats could put Utah in play.

A new Dan Jones and Associates poll finds that Senator Mike Lee (R) would have a competitive race on his hands if Democrats could recruit former Representative Jim Matheson in 2016. The poll has Lee with 48% of support to Matheson’s 42%.

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Matheson’s electoral calculus has always been the same in heavily Republican Utah. Win a majority of Democrats, pick off some Republicans and get a majority of the independent vote. The survey shows Matheson would win 87% of Democrats, 20% of Republicans and 57% of independents. He would likely need to increase the numbers among Republican and independent voters to have a chance at unseating Lee.

Not surprisingly, Lee wins nearly 70% of the Republican vote and just 6% of Democrats. 32% of independents would favor Lee over Matheson.

But it won’t be easy, Utah is one of the most conservative states and the last Democrat to win statewide in Utah was back in 1982 when they elected Scott Matheson, the father of Jim Matheson. As for Senator Lee, there is no guarantee that he will even make it to the general election, there are a lot of fringe far-right candidates that are looking to challenge him. Remember, no one thought Senator Bob Bennett was unsafe until the far-right candidate Mike Lee beat him at the state GOP convention.