Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Congressman Jim Matheson makes his last remarks as a Utah congressman to the Utah House of Representatives Thursday February 20. He will not run for reelection in 2014.
Matheson: Radical remedies may reduce partisanship
Legislative farewell » He suggests a combined primary to reduce partisanship.
First Published Feb 20 2014 12:03 pm • Last Updated Feb 20 2014 10:08 pm

Politics have become so polarized and partisan that Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson told Utah legislators Thursday that the state should closely watch, and maybe copy, something radical.

That is California’s recent move to make politicians from both parties run against one another in combined primary elections, with the top two advancing to the general election.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"I do think it draws a greater voter participation," in part because independents can vote in the primary, said the seven-term congressman. In Utah, the Republican primary and caucuses are open only to registered Republicans, although Democrats open their primary to any voter, except registered Republicans.

"Candidates are competing with folks across the spectrum" under California’s change, Matheson said, adding that may result in the election of officeholders who are less extreme and less beholden to parties.

Such measures are needed, Matheson said, because "this is the most polarized, partisan Congress in U.S. history."

Matheson, who is not seeking re-election this year but is seen as a likely candidate in 2016 for governor or the U.S. Senate, made his final annual appearance before the Legislature. The Democrat, known for breaking at times with his party on key issues, used it to call for more bipartisanship. He said voters are "fed up with both parties," and more voters than ever consider themselves independents.

He said the recent federal-government shutdown resulted from extreme partisanship. "It was a complete failure to those who tried to make it happen," he told the House. "Nobody won. Everybody lost. I hope everybody learned their lesson. I know Democrats did."

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City and chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, joked that he could testify from personal experience heading his party that Matheson "always put the interests of the state ahead of the party."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.