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While Matheson could face tough votes in his coming term and remains a Democrat in a heavily Republican district, Matheson does seem well-positioned politically for the near future, Jowers said.
"It was an incredibly impressive victory for Matheson," he said. "It’s hard to imagine Matheson ever facing a more difficult set of circumstances with a candidate that is even close to being as well-funded as Mayor Love and it’s hard to imagine him taking a loss in the next decade."
Matheson » 119,803
Love » 119,035
Libertarian Jim Vein » 6,439
Difference between Matheson and Love » 768
Needed to trigger a recount » 488 (one vote per precinct)
Source: Canvass, Salt Lake, Utah, Juab, Sanpete Counties
Clerks in Salt Lake, Utah, Sanpete and Juab counties processed about 72,000 absentee and provisional ballots since the election.
Both campaigns had said they did not anticipate the provisional and absentee ballots to sway the outcome of the election.
Matheson said he felt like his campaign drew clear distinctions between himself and his opponent and made clear that Republicans voting for Romney could also vote for him — and roughly one-in-four Republican voters did, according to Utah Colleges Exit Poll data.
He also set up an aggressive ground game, a combination of voter identification and a get-out-the-vote effort that worked for months to target voters.
"In some ways in a close race anything matters," he said.
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