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Washington • Rep. Jim Matheson is the only Democrat the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is supporting in a new $10 million ad campaign the business group launched Thursday.
Among the ads involving eight Senate races and 12 House contests is a 30-second spot that says: "Jim Matheson has a record of lowering taxes and shrinking regulations."
Rob Engstrom, the chamber's national political director, said the conservative-leaning group sticks with its supporters regardless of party. Matheson was one of 21 Democrats the chamber backed in 2010 and the first in this campaign season.
"We are loyal to our friends, and Congressman Matheson has stood with us for a long period of time," Engstrom said. "He is somebody who is pragmatic. He is a problem solver."
One of Matheson's four Republican challengers said he "highly disagrees" with the chamber's position.
Former state Rep. Carl Wimmer argues that no friend of the business community would oppose the full repeal of health reform or "do absolutely nothing" to give Utah ownership of federal lands within its boundaries.
"Jim Matheson has been a do-nothing congressman," Wimmer said, "and he'll continue to be a do-nothing congressman if elected."
Matheson's other GOP challengers in the new 4th District are Stephen Sandstrom, Mia Love and Jay Cobb.
The a six-term incumbent has seen plenty of outside groups weigh in on his races in the past, many seeking his defeat.
"I appreciate anything that validates my record for being pro-economic growth," Matheson said.
The congressman said he is "a little troubled" about the amount of money in politics, particularly from shadowy groups with vague agendas.
"But we all know who the Chamber of Commerce is and what they are about," he said. "They are really about growing the economy and creating jobs."
Engstrom would not say how much of the $10 million would be spent on the Matheson ad in Utah, but added it would appear on TV in the 4th District for the next 12 days.