Utah’s new fourth congressional district has brought interesting changes to the state’s political scene. Jim Matheson made a move from his old second district after six terms, and Mia Love has an open door to national politics.
Matheson made the move after the legislature gerrymandered his district in an attempt to neutralize the only liberal stronghold in the state – Salt Lake City. Instead of the largest population having one voice, the legislature cut it into four pieces, tying each to large conservative rural areas. Now the second district combines traditionally democratic areas like the Avenues with conservative southern Utah and parts of Davis County. Matheson thought he had his best chance in the fourth district – the south end of the valley and Utah County. He thought he would face ultra-conservative former state Representative Carl Wimmer.
Matheson is highly respected by Utah’s conservative democrats. He angered more liberal factions of the party during his last election run and had a challenge from within his own party. Perhaps he hoped to eliminate the far-left from the equation, and hoped for support from those not as conservative as Wimmer in the fourth district. Nobody really saw Mia Love coming.
Ludmya “Mia” Bourdeau Love, former council member and Mayor of Saratoga Springs, charmed the delegates (see video) at this year’s convention, and ended up defeating Wimmer and a host of challengers with more than 70 percent of the vote. An unlikely Utah candidate, Love is the child of Haitian immigrants, born in Brooklyn, a convert to the Mormon Church, black, a woman, mother of three, and a Republican. She is well spoken, charismatic, open, friendly, highly intelligent and hard working. During her time on the council and as mayor of a small Utah County town, it has grown from 1,000 to 18,000 people, and has become an economically strong city.
This race will receive national attention. Love has the backing of republican leaders in the House, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Matheson is a very popular incumbent, has lots of money, and a target on his back. Love is pro-life, pro-gun, and wants the government out of our lives. Matheson wants “constructive voices” that gets things done. They say they are both ready. Let the games begin.
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Source: Wikipedia, Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, Yahoo News, POLITICO