The group of fiscally conservative House Democrats known as the Blue Dogs – which includes U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre of Lumberton – has been shrinking in recent years. It has 15 members now, and on Tuesday, there was word that one of them, Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, has decided not to seek re-election.
Matheson is the only Democrat in red-state Utah. He had faced a repeat challenge from Mia Love, a Republican he narrowly beat in 2012.
McIntyre likewise faces a rematch against Republican David Rouzer, whom he beat by a sliver in the last election.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland issued a statement saying Matheson’s departure would be “a significant loss.”
“Jim has brought to the House of Representatives the kind of thoughtful, responsible leadership that this country needs to see more often. As a leader of the Blue Dogs, Jim has been a strong voice for moderate, pragmatic solutions,” Hoyer said. “He has advocated for his constituents in Utah, has always worked in a bipartisan way to get things done, and he has consistently spoken out for the need to get our nation on a fiscally sustainable path.”
President Barack Obama also issued a statement Tuesday night to thank him for his service and wish him well.
"Jim Matheson has proudly represented the people of Utah for more than twelve years in the United States Congress. He has been a forceful advocate of our nation’s veterans and worked to strengthen our economy through his support of key trade agreements," the president's statement said.