By Danielle Poulter
Matheson and Huntsman – two names as at home in Utah as Jell-O.
With the Republican primary decided, the 2004 bid for governor now turns to two big names, both sons of well-known Utahns. Jon Huntsman Jr., defeated opponent Nolan Karras Tuesday in the Republican primary election, and Scott Matheson Jr., was the unopposed Democratic nominee. Both men now turn their attention to a fight to win Utah voters with popular platforms – and name recognition.
Matheson, son of a former two-term Democratic Utah governor said he is excited and honored to be following his father”s tradition of public service, but added that current needs require a different approach to administration.
Huntsman, who is the son of a Utah philanthropist and noted billionaire, will also benefit from a name that strikes a chord with many Utahns, especially with the recent opening of the Huntsman Cancer Hospital.
Both men said they think the race will be about individuals and positions, rather than names. But Matheson admitted Huntsman is starting out with an advantage because of public focus during the primary.
Defeating Huntsman will mean collecting votes from Democrats as well as members of other parties.
“I welcome the challenge and it is a challenge,” Matheson said. He said successfully accomplishing this would result in unification of people from all political backgrounds.
Huntsman said he would focus his campaign on bolstering the economy by emphasizing jobs.
“This campaign is about jobs, jobs, jobs,” Huntsman said. “If we are going to pay for everything we need in the areas of education, infrastructure, and growth, we must deliver high-paying jobs to Utah.”
Matheson agreed strengthening the economy is important, especially as it relates to improving education.
“We need a healthy economy to support our education system,” Matheson said. But he said efforts toward either will take time to produce results.