Democrat Jay Seegmiller and Republican Chris Stewart are fighting for the 2nd Congressional District seat vacated by Democrat Jim Matheson. Seegmiller says it’s going to be hard to get noticed because of the race between Matheson and Mia Love, but that’s not an insurmountable hurdle.
“(The 4th District race) is definitely what everyone is paying attention to because of the amount of money pouring in. We’re trying to do some creative things. I’m pushing for some debates (with Stewart) so the voters get a chance to learn something about the candidates.”
There’s another big problem for Seegmiller that could give a huge advantage to his opponent - Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket. He acknowledges that’s a worriment, but they’re meeting it head-on. “We’re reaching out to Republican voters. I served in the Legislature and when I bring up the fact I ran against the Speaker of the House in 2008 and won, they recognize me.”
Seegmiller’s opponent won the Republican nomination amid allegations of shenanigans at the state convention. Seegmiller says that has come up time and time again on the campaign trail, but not from his camp.
“We haven’t had to bring it up because Republicans keep bringing it up when we talk to them,” he says. “I wasn’t there, I just read the media accounts. We really don’t feel like this is something we have to pursue.”
Seegmiller has the same complaints many candidates have - lack of money, the cost of sending out mailers, the time and energy it takes to campaign. But there’s one thing that frustrates him more than all the rest - lack of face-to-face time with voters. Seegmiller prefers to knock on doors and talk with people. With 600,000 voters in the district, he just doesn’t have the time to do that. The frustration in his voice is arresting.
“I miss that. That was my favorite part of serving in the Legislature - talking with people and trying to find ways to make things better. I really enjoy that part of public service.”
Seegmiller knows he’s got a big hill to climb. It could be a big Republican year in Utah because of Romney. But he’s got some rays of hope. Voters in that district are used to casting their ballots for a Democrat, and he thinks they may warm to his moderate message, but he’s not going to go to extremes to get heard.
“People at the far ends of the political spectrum are the ones who get attention from the press, which helps them raise money. You can say something absolutely crazy, and the next day your account is filling up. I just don’t understand it,” he says. “My message is one that resonates with both Republicans and Democrats.”
Something tells me this race could be a sleeper and worth paying attention to over the next couple of months.
When will Utah Democrats stop trying to use “balance” as a campaign issue? Democrats have somehow convinced themselves that this will work. I’m not sure why, because we have tons of concrete evidence it doesn’t and it won’t.
Last week the Peter Cooke campaign sent out an email fundraising appeal asking voters to “give bucks for balance” in state government. A nice sentiment, but it doesn’t work.
Voters don’t care about balance. If they did, Republicans would not have an overwhelming majority in the Legislature.
There are about 1.2 million registered voters in Utah. 47.5% of those are Republicans, and just 9% are Democrats. Democrats hold 23% of the seats in the Utah House and 26% of the seats in the Utah Senate. That suggests Democrats might be over-represented on the hill, which works against the argument for “balance.”
Whining about lack of balance does nothing. Politics is not recreational basketball where everyone gets equal playing time and a trophy for participating at the end of the season.
Campaigning on “balance” is akin to crying to your mom because you didn’t get a turn on the X-Box.
Here’s an idea: instead of trying to appeal to a voter’s sense of fairness, maybe explain why your ideas are better than the other guy.
Inside Little League Football:
The Jordan Maroon Mity Mites crushed the Herriman Blue squad 39-0 this week. Herriman had only 2 first downs the whole game.
“We are the United States of Amnesia, we learn nothing because we remember nothing” ~ Gore Vidal