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D.C. Notebook: Matheson rules out presidential bid

Published October 2, 2011 10:16 am

Politics • Huntsman's debate invitation saved by 4 percent showing in a poll.
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So here is what we do know: Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, has decided his name will appear on the 2012 ballot.

But in a not-too-subtle threat to Utah's GOP lawmakers, he has made it clear that he may run for the Senate, governor or even the new House seat if he doesn't like the way they draw his 2nd Congressional District in redistricting.

That got us wondering, if Matheson is mulling a run for at least four political offices what has he actually ruled out?

"Well, he's not running for president," joked his spokeswoman Alyson Heyrend.

She also ruled out campaigns against GOP Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz or a run for attorney general and Salt Lake County mayor.

We forgot to ask about dog catcher.

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Congressional tweeters • Younger members of Congress and those who receive encouragement from party leadership are the most likely to at least dip their toes in the world of Twitter.

That's according to a new study by Brigham Young University political science graduate David Lassen and Professor Adam Brown that will be soon published in the journal Social Science Computer Review.

The two pondered whether a member of Congress in a more vulnerable seat was more likely to use the micro-blogging social media tool, but as it turns out, whether a member tweets has nothing to do with whether he or she might face a tough race.

In fact, Republicans continue to have a larger majority on Twitter than they do on Capitol Hill thanks to prodding by GOP leaders, according to the BYU study. Younger members, like Utah's Chaffetz, led out on the social media scene and have gathered tens of thousands of followers.

Democrats, too, have their "Twitter stars," the BYU folks found, such as Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

Still, as the study shows, many members still delegate tweeting to staffers, though as Brown points out, there's an easier way for "how the Tweeple" can tell the difference.

"The actual members of Congress tweet about things like hamburgers and football games," Brown said. "When it's staff, the messages are all links to speeches and interviews."

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The 4-percent debate save • Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has to be one of the few presidential candidates in history to cheer a 4 percent showing in a presidential poll.

His presidential bid has been a struggle and it was almost dealt a campaign killer the other day when CNN announced its criteria for getting into its Las Vegas debate this month.

See, Huntsman has been polling at 1 percent on national polls and CNN set the bar at an average of 2 percent to make it in. But just this week a new Fox News poll popped up, showing Huntsman at 4 percent nationally.

That's not a poll number to brag about, but if it keeps him on stage, Huntsman's team has to be at least taking a sigh of relief.

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Burr and Canham report for The Tribune from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at tburr@sltrib.com or mcanham@sltrib.com or via Twitter @thomaswburr or @mattcanham.