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Democratic candidate proud of run against sitting congressman

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Jun. 28, 2010 at 3:53 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Democrat Claudia Wright says she has no regrets after her run against Rep. Jim Matheson. In fact, the same grassroots group that brought her forward is now looking at getting involved in other issues.


I think the campaign has reminded Utahns what grassroots campaigns really look like.

–Claudia Wright


Matheson beat Wright in a landslide, but she says election night was still a celebration. Her victory party was full of hugs and gratitude.

"Thank you for your efforts, and thank you for your heart. Thank you for your time and your money," Wright told the election night crowd.

Official totals show Matheson won with over 67 percent of the vote, but Wright still attracted 32 percent of voters.

"I think the campaign has reminded Utahns what grassroots campaigns really look like," Wright says.

For a campaign that started with a Craigslist ad at the beginning of the year, that result isn't too shabby -- that's according to Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

Primary Election Results U.S.House of Representatives District 2

CandidateVotes% of votes
Jim Matheson21.60167.5%
Claudia Wright10,40032.5%

"Jim Matheson is one of the most popular politicians in our state, if not the most popular, as far as favorability. And so to take any percentage from him is a real accomplishment," Jowers says.

"The fact that she put her name out there, and ran as a candidate, and gave a constant message, and talked about issues, I give her a lot of credit for that," Matheson says.

"I think we reminded a sitting congressman of his roots," Wright says, "which I think he has gotten far afield from."

So, what's next for Wright? She says she'll stay with the grassroots group that selected her to run.

"I think we have too much gridlock in Washington," Wright says. "I think the reason we have that gridlock is that we need campaign finance reform."

Wright isn't so keen on running for office again right now, but she's found she has a political voice. Chances are Utah hasn't seen the last from her.

Wright says she'll be meeting with the members of the Citizens Candidate group to take on issues like immigration reform this week.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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