Utah's most outspoken liberal is urging people to vote for a Republican rather than fellow Democrat Jim Matheson.
"He's turned his back to every possible constituency," former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson told K-TALK radio in one of two recent interviews. Matheson is facing Republican Morgan Philpot of American Fork in the U.S. 2nd District race.
While Anderson didn't exactly endorse Philpot (instead saying he'd write in Spongebob Squarepants), he had nothing kind to say about Matheson and said Democrats would do better to get rid of him to get someone in who would be better on climate, health care and energy issues.
"Maybe it's time to put a Republican into that position," Anderson said.
Matheson Campaign Manager Brenna Marron was blunt in response.
"Since when does he speak for Utah Democrats or for the Utah Democratic Party?" she said. "As you know, Matheson won the Democratic primary by a margin of 68 percent to 32 percent."
It was the first time Matheson had to face a primary in his 10 years, though he handily defeated Claudia Wright, whom left-leaning Democrats found via an ad on Craigslist. But with the primary over, the party has "no reservations whatsoever" about supporting Matheson, said Executive Director Todd Taylor.
He countered Anderson's arguments, saying Matheson has helped get the Moab tailings site cleaned up and partnered with Sen. Bob Bennett to help unjam wilderness issues.
SDLqHe shows that there is a voice in politics that is not ideologically based," Taylor said.
The anger from both sides against Matheson comes in large part because of his efforts to straddle the fence in a congressional district that is mostly Republican.
From the right, Philpot's campaign has spent considerable time trying to tie him to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, including getting the "Fire Pelosi" bus tour to come through the state last Saturday.
"It's just a response and a reaction to an American public that is incredibly frustrated with the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, and they recognize that here in Utah we've got a congressman who has voted for her as speaker every time and helped push an agenda that is bankrupting our country," Philpot told the Associated Press last week.