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With the 4th District race up for grabs, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor flew into Utah on Thursday to raise money and try to boost Republican candidate Mia Love to victory, while Democrat Jim Matheson is touting his crossover support from Utah Republicans.

"This is one of the races that is important for us. This is a race that reflects a new generation of leaders in our party," Cantor said before a fundraiser at Thanksgiving Point.

The Virginia congressman said that electing the first black Republican woman to Congress would be "historic" and that the caucus would welcome her voice.

"She's uniquely placed to really be a leader in Congress," he said. "She has a tremendous voice and will join us in pursuing that dream that so many Americans have of seeing our country get back on track so we can build a better future."

Cantor said Love wants to go to Washington "for the right reasons" and help Mitt Romney turn the country around, a contrast with Rep. Jim Matheson, who Cantor said is supporting President Barack Obama.

Supporters paid $1,000 each to attend the Cantor event. House Speaker John Boehner will be in Utah next week to raise money for Love, his second visit to the state.

Matheson said earlier this week that the Republican leaders don't care about Utah and are only worried about adding another partisan, but Utah voters won't be persuaded by the visits. Ultimately, Matheson said voters will judge Love on her own merits. "At some point, you've got to stand on your own feet running for Congress," he said.

Matheson, in the meantime, launched a new television ad Thursday, featuring prominent Republicans who are crossing over to support his campaign, including Zions Bank President Scott Anderson, South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood and auto dealer Kirk Schneider.

"I'm voting for Mitt Romney and Jim Matheson," Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth says in the ad.

It is a clear effort to woo crossover voters whose support has carried him to six election victories and whose backing in this, perhaps his toughest challenge, is crucial to his success.

"These Utah Republicans represent many Utah voters who want someone to be an independent, constructive voice for making progress, not perpetuating the gridlock in Washington," Matheson said. "I've always worked across the aisle and that's the way solutions to complex issues get resolved."

Twitter: @RobertGehrke

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