ST. GEORGE – With polls showing Congressional Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Matheson only 10 points ahead of his Republican challenger Morgan Philpot, local Republican Party members aren’t taking any chances.
In an effort to help their cause, the Washington County Republican Party opted to open up a headquarters in St. George just weeks before the Nov. 2 vote, a move usually reserved during presidential election years.
“This is a critical race and 10 points is a huge deal,” said Lisa Thorpe, publicity director for the Washington County Republican Party. “We needed the headquarters and the visibility on the Boulevard to help with the momentum we’ve got going. It well also help us get the word out on what our candidates stand for and their principles and standards.”
Party members and voters celebrated the grand opening of the headquarters yesterday morning with a traditional ribbon cutting, followed with light refreshments. Approximately 50 people attended, including Republican candidate for Washington County Sheriff Cory Publsipher, who was the only candidate on site to field questions from voters and the media.
Besides being a place for voters to pick up campaign literature and signs, the headquarters will also be used by volunteers to make phone calls to the various precincts, as well as for candidates and their committees to have a place to meet and discuss the details of their campaigns.
“The headquarters is a venue for the candidates to be able to launch their campaigns and to have a place where they can push their principles and values,” said Jim Coleman, local ERA broker and vice chairman of the Washington County Republican Party.
Pulsipher was glad to see the headquarters opened and said he believed it would definitely help him in his campaign efforts.
“I plan to use this as a way for me to get the word out about what I stand for – my values and my principles,” Pulsipher said.
While Washington County is largely Republican, party members and candidates say they aren’t taking anything for granted – particularly when it comes to Matheson’s power in Southern Utah.
“Surprisingly, he won last time because of the vote in Washington County,”
Coleman said. “The local people hold the power to make this happen, to help take Matheson out of office and we need to do it.”
But for Republicans, winning this race isn’t just about unseating Matheson, but also California Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who they contend yields way too much control and influence in Washington D.C.
“Everything she tells the Democrats to do they do,” Coleman said. “Matheson has voted right along party lines and right with Pelosi all along. He will stay right with her until the end and then bow out of the last vote before he has to held accountable by his constituents for what has happened.”
The election is Nov. 2, however, voters who have still not registered to vote will now have to walk their registration forms in to the Washington County Clerk Office, 197 E. Tabernacle. The final registration date is Oct. 18 by 5 p.m.