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SALT LAKE CITY — The two sides in the 4th District contest have been exchanging fire heatedly leading up to Thursday's debate KSL-sponsored debate. Jim Matheson called for Mia Love to apologize for comments she made yesterday about him. Through a surrogate, Love refused.
"I think she owes me an apology and I think she owes voters the truth." Matheson said.
For the second straight day, the campaigns tangled over Mia Love's statement yesterday on the Doug Wright Show that Matheson was somehow behind a Mother Jones magazine piece questioning elements of the story of her family's immigration to the United States from Haiti.
"It is so sad that Jim Matheson and his friends would go as far as attacking my family, attacking the American Dream," Love said on the program.
Matheson denies it and her campaign offers no proof of it.
"I was accused of planting a story that I had nothing to do with and I don't think we should make those wild accusations," Matheson said. "We've got too much of that in politics these days."
Wednesday, Love was unavailable — in debate preparations — but the state's Republican Party chair says there will be no apology.
"The only person with motive to attack Mia Love and her campaign right now is Jim Matheson," said Thomas Wright.
As one of a few dozen competitive Congressional races in the country, the race is seeing spectacular spending on campaign ads as well as four debates in the next six days.
"I think Utah voters in particular respect their vote enough to size up the two candidates. They can cut through all that noise," Matheson said.
Matheson, Utah's longtime lone Democrat in Congress, has faced tough election challenges before, and predicts he'll survive this time.
"I think the country is looking for more reasonable voices," he said. "I think they really are."