SALT LAKE CITY – U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson (search), D-Utah, isn't taking any chances after squeaking to re-election nearly two years ago by just 1 percent of the vote.
Matheson plans to skip the Democratic National Convention (search) later this month to campaign in Utah. A super-delegate, Matheson will be a no-show at the four-day convention that starts July 26 in Boston.
"The reason he's not going is he's got a very important campaign to conduct in Utah," Matheson press secretary Alyson Heyrend said Wednesday.
John Swallow is making his second bid to knock off Utah's lone Democrat in Congress. The 2nd district loops from part of Salt Lake County to St. George in the state's southwest corner by way of eastern Utah.
Matheson was one of the top Republican targets in 2002, giving him "plenty of work to do," Heyrend said.
"There's only a couple dozen races nationally that are truly competitive. This is one of them," she said.
The Matheson name resonates in Utah. His father, Scott Matheson, was Utah's last Democratic governor, serving for two terms ending in 1985. His older brother, Scott Matheson Jr., is running for governor this November on the Democratic ticket.
The Deseret Morning News reported Wednesday that Jim Matheson was leading Swallow 58 percent to 29 percent in a poll. Dan Jones & Associates quizzed 327 2nd District voters by telephone July 6-10 for the results. The poll's margin of error was 6.5 percentage points.
"We're happy about that, however, last time he ran, he won by less than 1 percent. So you can't rest on your laurels," Heyrend said.