Utah's 4th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Utah's 4th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 26, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Jim Matheson Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Newly created district

Utah U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Utah.png
The 4th congressional district of Utah held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Jim Matheson (D) was elected to the newly drawn district in the general election on November 6, 2012. He defeated Mia Love (R) and Jim Vein (L) for the seat.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 16, 2012
June 26, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Utah has a mixed primary system, with Republicans having a closed primary and Democrats having an open one. Both parties hold conventions prior to the primaries.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by October 7, or October 22 in-person. For the general election, voter registration deadlines were October 7, and October 22 in-person.[2]

See also: Utah elections, 2012

Incumbent: The district was added as a result of the 2010 Census.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Utah's 4th congressional district is located in the western portion of the state, and includes Salt Lake, Tooele, Juab, Millard, Beaver, Iron, and Washington counties.[3]


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Jim MathesonGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Mia Love
Libertarian Party Jim Vein

Democratic Party Democratic convention candidates

Republican Party Republican convention candidates

Libertarian Party Libertarian candidate

Note: Ken Larsen withdrew before the primary.[5]

Independent Utah Justice Party candidate

Note: Torin Nelson withdrew.[5]

Election Results

U.S. House, Utah District 4 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim Matheson Incumbent 48.8% 119,803
     Republican Mia B. Love 48.5% 119,035
     Libertarian Jim L. Vein 2.6% 6,439
Total Votes 245,277
Source: Utah Lieutenant Governor "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

According to the website Daily Kos, this race was one of nine top-ballot 2012 races that contained Libertarian candidates who received more total votes than was the difference between the Democratic winner and the GOP runner-up. In this case, Jim Vein took in over 3,000 more votes than the number that separated Matheson and Love.[6]

Race background

Republican challenger Mia Love was included in the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Guns program. The program highlights challengers who represent the GOP's best chances to pick up congressional seats in the general election.[7]

General election


Utah's 4th was considered to be a Tossup according to the New York Times race ratings. Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson is challenged by Mia Love (R) in the most Republican district in the country currently occupied by a Democrat. [8]

Using the Federal Election Commission's October Quarterly campaign finance filings, the Brennan Center for Justice at The New York University School of Law published a report on October 22nd focusing on the 25 House races rated most competitive by The Cook Political Report, including the race for Utah's 4th. The report examines the relative spending presence of non-candidate groups, candidates, and small donors in these races - "which will likely determine which party will control the House." [9]

Democratic Party Democratic convention

In the April 21 Democratic convention, delegates confirmed Jim Matheson as the Democratic nominee for Utah's 4th.[11][12] Matheson was unopposed at the convention. There will be no primary for the 3rd district.[12]

Republican Party Republican convention

In the April 21 Republican convention, the party nominated incumbent Mia Love to be the Republican candidate in the general election. Mia Love and Carl Wimmer advanced as the top two vote-getters in the first round, and in the second round, Love received 70 percent of the delegate votes.[13] No Republican primary will be held for the 4th congressional district.[12]


Jim Matheson V. Mia Love
Poll Jim Matheson Mia LoveMargin of ErrorSample Size
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research
(October 29-31, 2012)***
Dan Jones and Associates
(Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2012)
AVERAGES 39% 47% +/-4.4 519.5
***Note: After the poll was released, the Salt Lake Tribune announced that the poll revealed a flawed oversampling over Republicans which caused skewed, less accurate results.[14]
The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Campaign contributions

The race attracted $2.6 million in outside spending between Labor Day and late October before the general election. $744,916 was spent helping Democrat Jim Matheson while $1,882,725 was spent to aid Republican Mia Love.[15]

Jim Matheson

Jim Matheson Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Pre-Convention[16]April 1, 2012$696,072.78$342,736.34$(67,261.03)$971,548.09
July Quarterly[17]July 15, 2012$971,548.09$361,959.73$(52,676.42)$1,280,831.40
Running totals

Mia Love

Mia Love Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Pre-Convention[18]April 20, 2012$34,946.89$81,816.79$(77,588.81)$39,174.87
July Quarterly[19]July 13, 2012$39,174.87$374,870.12$(136,864.11)$277,180.88
Running totals

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Utah

Utah was redistricted following the 2010 Census and received a fourth Congressional seat.

Because the redistricting split the 2nd district represented by Jim Matheson (D), Matheson declared he would run for the newly created 4th district.[20][4]

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Utah's 4th District became less Republican because of redistricting.[21]

  • 2012: 39D / 61R
  • 2010: 37D / 63R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measures each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Utah's 4th congressional district has a PVI of R+14, which is the 59th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by John McCain (R), 58-42 percent over Barack Obama (D). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 68-32 percent over John Kerry (D).[22]

See also


  1. Washington Post, "Republican Mia Love concedes to Democrat Jim Matheson in Utah," November 7, 2012
  2. Utah Lieutenant Governor "Voting Registration Deadlines," Accessed July 6, 2012
  3. Utah Redistricting Map "Map" Accessed July 24, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Deseret News "Rep. Jim Matheson jumps to 4th Congressional District for re-election," accessed December 16, 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office: Elections "2012 Candidate Filings," accessed March 16, 2012
  6. Daily Kos, "Libertarians provided the margin for Democrats and at least nine elections," November 15, 2012
  7. NRCC "Young Guns 2012"
  8. New York Times "House Race Ratings," Accessed August 10, 2012
  9. Brennan Center for Justice, "Election Spending 2012: 25 Toss-Up House Races," October 22, 2012
  10. The Cook Political Report, "House: Race Ratings", updated October 18, 2012
  11. Utah Democratic Party "2012 U.S. House candidates," Accessed May 27, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Utah Lt. Gov. Office: Elections "2012 Candidate Filings," Accessed May 27, 2012
  13. UtahGOP "Election Results: Utah Congressional District 4," April 21, 2012
  14. KUTV "Oversampling Causes Flawed Poll Numbers," November 6, 2012
  15. The New York Times, "Outside Spending in Key House Races," October 25, 2012
  16. Federal Election Commission "Matheson for Congress Pre-Convention," Accessed July 13, 2012
  17. Federal Election Commission "Matheson for Congress July Quarterly," Accessed July 20, 2012
  18. Federal Election Commission "Friends of Mia Love Pre-Convention," Accessed July 14, 2012
  19. Federal Election Commission "Friends of Mia Love July Quarterly," Accessed July 14, 2012
  20. Salt Lake Tribune "Redistricting fallout: Matheson looks at other districts," Accessed December 4, 2011
  21. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Utah," September 2012
  22. Cook Political Report "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012