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Matheson not representing Democrats, Wright says

By Richard Piatt | Posted - May 6, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- In the political world, Sen. Bob Bennett is not the only incumbent dealing with disenchanted voters. Democrat Jim Matheson is also facing criticism -- and an intra-party challenger for the first time.

His opponent, Democratic grassroots candidate Claudia Wright, says she's out to win. Wright is the "citizens' candidate" -- the one picked from that Craigslist ad to represent more Democrats, she says.

She thinks she's got what it takes to push Matheson into his first primary challenge ever.

Wright has her fingers in every aspect of her campaign these days. And, she says her fingers are on the pulse of Utah Democrats, too.

Wright boldly states that she's on the brink of taking congressman Jim Matheson to a primary.

"Clearly, he's not representing Democrats, at least the majority," she said. "I don't even think that he's representing independents and moderates."


Clearly, he's not representing Democrats, at least the majority. I don't even think that he's representing independents and moderates.

–Claudia Wright


But Wright knows Matheson is going to be tough to beat. As the incumbent, he has a huge financial advantage, endorsements from heavy-hitters in the Democratic party and a strong name.

Over the phone from Washington Thursday, Matheson said he's confident because of his record, too.

"I have worked hard, talked to a lot of delegates," he said. "The more people gain the complete understanding of my record the more confident I am that I will be successful in the convention."

Wright says she's been talking to delegates, too. She says there's significant disappointment with Matheson.

Wright says that because of the partly conservative makeup of the second district, Matheson has chosen to "Republican-ize" himself over the years.

Instead, Wright says she would focus on issues that cross party lines, like election reform and clean air and water.

"It's a clear indicator of the disenchantment, shall we say, with the current congressman," she said. "But more than that I think it shows people that the democratic process still works."

Wright will face off with Matheson at the Salt Palace on Saturday. Even if the two do face off in a primary, On Thursday Matheson said he's confident he'll win that, and the general election in November, too.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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