Utah is looking to send Congress its first black, female Republican, plus another all-red state delegation, after this November’s election.
Republican Mia Love will most likely beat the Democratic challenger for the seat of retiring Democrat Congressman Jim Matheson in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Love is the daughter of Haitian immigrants, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; she has been on the city council and mayor of Saratoga Springs. This is Love’s second race for Congress after a narrow loss to Matheson in 2012, but she has kept her fingers in local and national politics since the last election and is polling well for November.
This election will be an noteworthy step forward for the Republican Party. Utah, generally deep red, sends six people to Washington after the 2010 census gave the state an additional congressional seat, and pending Love’s election they will all be Republican, as the other races are fairly set.
Five states currently send all-Democrat delegations (senators and representatives) to Congress: Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Massachusetts (11), Rhode Island (4), and Hawaii (4).
Likewise, five states have sent all-Republican delegations to the current Congress: Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Nebraska (5), Oklahoma (5), and Wyoming (3).
Love will add a compelling personal story to the Utah delegation. During her race against Matheson in 2012, Fox News interviewed her when she spoke at the Republican National Convention:
This is Love’s story: Her parents left Haiti for the U.S. 39 years ago. Her father worked several jobs to support the family, including paying for his daughter to attend the University of Hartford, where she graduated with a degree in fine arts.
“I remember taking my dad to college with me on the first day of orientation and he looked at me very seriously, and he said, ‘Mia, your mother and I have done everything we could to get you here. We’ve worked hard. We’ve never taken a handout. You’re not going to be a burden to society. You will give back,'” Love said in an interview Tuesday with Fox News.
“It actually stayed with me,” she said.
The media has enjoyed commenting on Love’s background and views. Reuters called her “a Mormon mother of three who is upending stereotypes about the state and its predominant faith” who, if elected, would “become an unlikely champion in Washington of staunchly conservative views – limited government, fiscal discipline and state’s rights. The daughter of Haitian immigrants is pro-life, pro-gun and holds a concealed weapons permit.”
If this balance remains otherwise constant in November, Utah will not only contribute another Republican to the House of Representatives, but tip the scale in favor of Republicans for sending homogeneous delegations.