Mitt Romney may have lost his chance at the White House on Tuesday, but, as expected, Utah voters showed their 2002 Olympics savior and adopted son that he's still a winner here a big winner. That the state's six electoral votes would go to Romney, a Mormon in Mormon country, was as close to a sure thing as it gets in politics.
Still, the Republican challenger's popularity at the polls did not quite match the record 75 percent of the state's presidential vote posted by Ronald Reagan in 1984. Had it done so, perhaps Romney's long coattails would have proven long enough to drag right-wing Republican Mia Love to victory over Rep. Jim Matheson. They were not, and Matheson barely won a seventh term.
For years, Matheson has managed to frustrate efforts by the Utah Republican Party to oust the lone Democrat from the state's Congressional delegation. He did so with a voting record against Obamacare, for example that in most states would make him a moderate Republican. But this is Utah, of course, where even moderate Republicans don't always claim to be.
The grand old man of Beehive State politics, Orrin Hatch, will begin his seventh term in the U.S. Senate in January and will be 84 in six years when it ends. Hatch didn't gain the prize he had dangled before voters as a reason for re-electing him. With the Senate remaining Democratic, Hatch won't be chairing the Senate Finance Committee.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a rising star in the Republican firmament, easily dispensed with Salt Lake City Council Chairman Soren Simonsen to win a third term in the 3rd Congressional District. The question for Chaffetz is whether, in this near-to-scarlet state, he will expand upon his modest efforts to reach across the aisle. We hope he does.
Rep. Rob Bishop strolled to victory in the 1st Congressional District over Democrat Donna McAleer, who showed herself a dynamic campaigner and gained considerable name recognition that could help her in future races, should she choose to run again.
Utah's only open seat was in the 2nd District, Matheson's old seat, where Republican Chris Stewart brushed aside former state legislator Jay Seegmiller. The Republican Legislature's deplorable gerrymandering of the district in order to make Matheson more vulnerable gave Democrat Seegmiller little chance once the ever-elusive Matheson jumped to the 4th District.
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