I am a Republican and I voted for Jim Matheson--every time. First I voted for him because Derek Smith (who had unseated Merrill Cook in the GOP Primary) seemed like he was out of his league. I thought there were other Republicans better than Smith, but he won the nomination. Matheson seemed like a reasonable man, and I voted for him.
He continued to be reasonable, and I continued to vote for him. He represented Utah well, was an active Congressman, and generally supported my social views appropriately. As a Republican the only argument that I could find to vote against Matheson was that we wasn't a Republican. This is no small thing--Congressional committee assignments are determined by the majority, and for some of that time the GOP was not the majority in the House. Nevertheless, I voted for Matheson.
That follows my general voting pattern: best person for the job. Sometimes the best person isn't from your party, and unless their ideaology is so extreme, you vote for them.
Why am I bringing this up? Because it appears, after six terms in Congress, that Matheson's time is up. He is currently trailing GOP newcomer Mia Love dramatically in the polls (10+ points). With only a few days until the election I see no scenario that would lead to a Matheson victory. Matheson chose to run for the newly created Utah 4th district, after Republican Gerrymandering realigned his old Utah Second (I hate gerrymandering, by the way).
Not being in Utah any longer I have not followed the race that closely. Mia Love gave a good speech at the GOP convention, and was my wife's Zumba instructor in Lehi while serving as the mayor of Saratoga Springs. She seems a little more in tune with politics than was Derek Smith, and is a smart woman. She has received massive support from the national GOP.
Love is unique, in that she is a woman, Republican, Mormon, and black. That combination does not exist anywhere else in politics--no one has ever been elected to higher office that matched that demographic. Is that enough to make her a qualified member of Congress?
We will see, as she appears poised to win. If she does, I will be sad to see a classy guy like Jim Matheson go.