by: Evelyn Call
Love faced serious challenges from former state legislators Carl Wimmer and Steve Sandstrom for the newly created fourth congressional district GOP nomination, but she secured victory with the majority of the vote.
“I was hoping, I am not in the habit of making predictions like that, but I was hoping and we did it,” Love said.
Love’s campaign was steadily gaining traction In the days leading up to the convention. In a poll of delegates taken by Utah Foundation, Love had a 13-point lead over her nearest challenger Wimmer, who had 25 percent.
Wimmer had been campaigning for a year and had secured high-profile endorsements from Senator Mike Lee and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. As one of the Patrick Henry caucus founders, Wimmer ran on a platform of strengthening states rights and restoring constitutional principles.
Love’s campaign gained national attention and donations from the likes of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.; House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. These endorsements carried weight, but getting the coveted endorsement from Josh Romney, who by proxy represents an endorsement from presidential hopeful Governor Mitt Romney, was enough to help clench the nomination.
During her convention speech Love made the case she was the better candidate to face Democratic Incumbent Jim Matheson in the general election this fall. The delegates agreed by evidence of their support.
“Today we have an opportunity to do something very special, today we can start breaking a pattern, today we can start bringing Jim Matheson home,” Love said.
Love is the daughter of Haitian immigrants and has run on her record of fiscal conservatism as the mayor of Saratoga Springs. She worked with city council members to cut spending and reduce the city’s shortfall from $3.5 million to $779,000. The city of Saratoga Springs now has the highest bond rating for a city of its size.
Love’s efforts were met with harsh criticism. According to the Salt Lake Tribune article, “Mia Love; budget hawk or big spender”, in order to reduce the city’s debt tough decisions were made. The city cut the budget by about $2 million and laid off eight of the 85 employees. Love also more than doubled the property tax rates, imposing a 116 percent increase. This was a controversial move according to most residents.
“It got to the point that I could not afford to live in the city anymore. I was tired of the government spending money it didn’t have and expecting residents to foot the bill,” said Becky Pirente, former Saratoga Springs resident.
If Love is successful in her bid to be the fourth district’s representative, she will be the first Republican African American female to serve in Congress, Love refuses to let this dominate her campaign message.
“Saratoga Springs doesn’t have the best bond rating because I’m black and female. It’s because of the policies we put in place, “ Love said. “I am proud of my roots, but it is my principles of fiscal discipline, limited government and personal responsibility that are a truer reflection of who I am.”