Poll Shows Blue Dog Democrat Jim Matheson in Danger in Utah

The battle between newcomer Mia Love and political heavyweight Jim Matheson looks to be going Love's way.

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It looks as though the country's most endangered Blue Dog Democrat could soon be extinct.

A new poll from the Salt Lake City Tribune shows newcomer Mia Love has moved to a 12 point lead over six-term incumbent Rep. Jim Matheson in their battle for Utah's 4th Congressional District.

The race was always an uphill climb for Matheson, whose district was redrawn. Even before redistricting Matheson held the most conservative district in the country. But Matheson had faced tough competition before.

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"This is not my first rodeo," Matheson has said.

Love, who says her experience as the mayor of the small town of Saratoga Springs has prepared her for handling the country's rising national deficit, has been catapulted to GOP stardom in the last two months. Love appears frequently on Fox News and earned a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention.

Prior to the Tribune poll showing Love ahead 52 percent to 40 percent, the race had looked closer. Both sides have had heavy television presences and lots of cash backing them up.

The race has given Utah its first $10 million congressional contest, with both campaigns raising more than $5 million each. And ads from Super PACs have poured in supporting both sides. House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have even jumped onboard. The speaker has visited the district twice and held fundraisers to boost Love's name recognition, while GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who is popular for rescuing the Olympics in Utah, cut an ad supporting Love's candidacy that began airing this week.

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"If people thought we'd seen saturation, the voters in Utah don't know what saturation is," Matheson told the Salt Lake City Tribune.

If elected, Love would be the first black Republican woman elected the House of Representatives.

Lauren Fox is a political reporter for U.S. News and World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at lfox@usnews.com.