Mia Love Makes History
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Republican Mia Love pulled out a tight victory over Democrat Doug Owens Tuesday as she won a House seat on her second try and became the first black female Republican in Congress.
The matchup in the Republican-leaning 4th Congressional District of Utah was the most expensive and closely watched race of the election season in Utah.
Love acknowledged that Utah had made history in her victory speech at a Republican election night party.
“Many of the naysayers out there said that Utah would never elect a black Republican LDS woman to Congress,” said Love, flanked by her family. “Not only did we do it, we were the first to do it.”
Her win gives Utah an all-GOP congressional delegation for the first time in 14 years.
Utah’s three other Republican incumbent U.S. representatives — Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart — all scored comfortable victories over their Democratic challengers.
“Regardless of who you voted for today, I hope you know that I am going to represent all of you in Washington,” Love said.
Love, 38, is the former mayor of Saratoga Springs who narrowly lost in her first bid for Congress two years ago to Democrat Jim Matheson. Matheson, a seven-term congressman, decided not to run again, leaving Love and Owens vying for the state’s only House seat without an incumbent.
Owens, 51, is a Salt Lake City attorney who was making his first-ever run for public office. He is the son of the late U.S. Rep. Wayne Owens, a Democrat. In a concession speech at the Democratic party, he said he was proud of the campaign he ran and the issues he focused on.
“Lay us down and bleed a while and we will rise and fight again for all of these wonderful things that we believe in,” Owens said.
Republicans around the country backed Love, who amassed a big lead in campaign contributions. In addition to the millions she raised, outside groups poured about $155,000 into the race for Love’s benefit.
Cheri Jolley, a 45-year-old registered Democrat from West Valley City, said she voted for Doug Owens because she feels that, like Matheson, Owens would good decisions even if they’re at odds with the Democratic Party.
Jolley said she doesn’t like Love’s promises to fight against the Common Core education standards, the U.S. Department of Education and the federal government.
“I don’t want to hear any more fighting,” Jolley said. “We need the federal government in our business. We as a state are not putting enough money into our education.”
Love’s opposition to Common Core is one of the things that supporter Bill Anderson likes about her.
Anderson, a 55-year-old former teacher from Orem, said Common Core takes away creativity and forces teachers to meet guidelines in order for schools to get federal dollars.
As a gun owner, Anderson also likes Love’s strong stance as a defender of 2nd Amendment rights.
“I am just really highly impressed with her. I think she’s right on the ball,” he said.
Here’s a look how the other congressional races turned out:
1st Congressional District
Republican Rob Bishop won a seventh term in Congress by defeating former business executive Donna McAleer for the second consecutive time in Utah’s 1st District, which includes the northernmost parts of Utah, including Ogden and Logan.
“I think they recognize I’m a lifelong resident here and I share the same values and concepts that they have,” Bishop said.
Bishop is in line to become chairman of a House committee that oversees federal lands. That’s an important position for Utah, a state with two-thirds of its land owned by the federal government.
“We need development of public resources on public lands, not only for the economy, but for the education needs of the state of Utah,” Bishop said.
2nd Congressional District
Republican Chris Stewart breezed past Democratic state Sen. Luz Robles to win a second term in Congress. He’ll represent Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers a large portion of the state, including most of Salt Lake City west to the Nevada border and south to the Arizona border.
Stewart, a former Air Force pilot and author, told voters during the campaign that Washington needs his military experience and business acumen. In his victory speech Tuesday, he spoke about the opportunity that lies ahead for the country.
“Tonight we get to start the fight to reclaim our country once again,” Stewart said. “Abraham Lincoln said we are the last best hope on earth. It was true when he said it and it is still true today.”
3rd Congressional District
Three-term Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz easily beat political newcomer Democrat Brian Wonnacott to win another term in the 3rd District.
Chaffetz serves as the chairman of a national security subcommittee and has led a high-profile investigation into a Sept. 19 security breach at the White House where a man with a knife climbed the fence and made it inside the building.
The district stretches from the southeast suburbs of Salt Lake City to the Arizona and Colorado borders.
The media-savvy congressman, who makes regular appearances on cable news networks, had no trouble getting past Wonnacott, who is a political newcomer and software engineer from Holladay.
“America is giving us this chance to produce and we better do it or they’ll kick us out, as they should,” said Chaffetz.