Bridgewater Seeks GOP Nomination to Oppose Rep. Matheson

Bridgewater Seeks GOP Nomination to Oppose Rep. Matheson

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Tim Bridgewater has announced he will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in Utah's 2nd U.S. House District.

That pits Bridgewater against John Swallow, who was the Republican candidate two years ago and is seeking the nomination again this year.

"This was an easy district to win," Bridgewater said Tuesday after filing for the office. "Utah voted overwhelmingly for President Bush and Gov. Leavitt but rejected John Swallow. We did not have a candidate who could reach out to traditional Republican voters."

Bridgewater said that an exit poll showed that in the 2002 race, which Matheson won by fewer than 2,000 votes, Swallow got only 39 percent of Salt Lake County Republicans' votes.

"Many Republicans want a different Republican candidate," the Draper venture capitalist said.

Bridgewater is focusing his campaign on the State Republican Convention on May 8. Two years ago, he received 56 percent of the delegate votes, but lost the primary election to Swallow.

He said that this year, he will have $300,000 and 120 campaign "captains" statewide lobbying delegates on his behalf.

Swallow announced his candidacy last month, saying he would work to open up public lands to mining and other resource development, curb the power of liberal federal judges and give more control to states.

He said that he will not always support the president's policies and opposes the administration's "No Child Left Behind" mandate for public schools, which he considers to be unwarranted federal control.

Matheson, a former energy consultant and a son of the late Gov. Scott Matheson, was first elected in 2000. Following that year's census, the Legislature's redistricting made the 2nd District more rural and more Republican.

Matheson has said he isn't worried about facing the same challengers he had two year years ago.

"I don't think it will be that close this time. I'm looking forward to winning by more than 1 percent," he said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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