Mia Love Gets Democratic Challenger in Utah

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams already represents 85% of the district

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, has a new Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, has a new Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 19, 2017 at 7:18am

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams announced Wednesday he will challenge GOP Rep. Mia Love, potentially shaking up the race in Utah’s 4th District. 

McAdams, a Democrat, told the Salt Lake Tribune that he had decided to run because lawmakers were “enamored with the national spotlight and partisan games that both parties seem to play,” instead of solving the country’s problems.

Love has her own national profile as the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. McAdams could pose a threat to Love’s re-election since he currently represents most of the district. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, 85 percent of voters in the 4th District reside in Salt Lake County.

McAdams currently lives in Utah’s 2nd District. Asked about his residency last month, he told the Salt Lake Tribune, “These are my constituents. I’d love to fight for the issues of the district.”

Though Utah is a solidly Republican state, the 4th District was recently, if briefly, represented by a Democrat. 

After redistricting shook up the Utah congressional districts, Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson shifted from the 2nd District to the 4th District. He narrowly defeated Love in the 4th District race in 2012.

When Matheson retired the next cycle, Love bested Democrat Doug Owens in 2014 to win the open seat race. Love and Owens faced off again in 2016, and Love won by 12 points. President Donald Trump won the district by 7 points last November.

Love raised $256,000 in the most recent fundraising quarter, according to Federal Election Commission documents, roughly half of her fundraising at the same point last cycle. In the third fundraising quarter of 2015, Love had raked in nearly $442,000.

Love’s campaign manager Dave Hansen told Utah Policy the campaign is focused on building fundraising lists. He also noted that fundraising had lagged in a non-presidential year.

“Frankly, we don’t have Hillary Clinton to kick around anymore, so that’s been a struggle,” Hansen said.