McAdams: Mia Love is an ’empty seat’ for Utah

Democratic congressional candidate Ben McAdams has some harsh words for his Republican opponent Mia Love, saying she’s been an “empty seat” in Congress.

“She’s not listening to her constituents,” he says. “If she was, she’d know what we need and get the help we need. She’s failing to do that job.”

Love has been part of a recent effort in Congress by some Republicans to buck leadership and force a vote on several immigration measures, including one to protect “dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country by their parents when they were young children. McAdams says Love’s recent action on immigration is nothing more than a cynical move in an election year.

“Where has she been for the last three years? In fact, she voted eight times to deport those ‘dreamers’ and defund DACA,” says McAdams. “It was only after I got into the race that she decided to do something on this. It’s too little, too late.”

There’s no doubt that Love is vulnerable this year, but not overly so. Utah’s 4th CD is rated as R+13 by the Cook Partisan Voting Index, meaning it should vote 13-points more Republican than the rest of the nation. It’s also rated as the 91st “most Republican” district in Congress.  In 2012, she lost to Democrat Jim Matheson by a handful of votes. In 2014 she beat Democrat Doug Owens by 5 points, and in 2016 she beat Owens in a rematch by 12 points.

McAdams is the kind of opponent who has given Love fits at the ballot box in the past. Like Matheson, he’s a moderate centrist Democrat who has a reputation for working across the aisle with both Republicans and Democrats. That’s probably why Love started attacking him even before he secured the Democratic nomination, blasting him for supporting unrestricted abortion, and slamming him for his ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. All three of those issues are dog whistles for her conservative base.

McAdams isn’t bothered by Love’s attempts to tie him to Pelosi, mostly because he has already said he would not support her to be Speaker of the House if Democrats win back control in 2018.

“That is such a Washington insider argument. From the beginning of my campaign, I said I don’t intend to support Nancy Pelosi,” says McAdams. “To use that boring, rote partisan attack just shows she has nothing else to campaign on. She’s been the incumbent for two terms and this is her fourth election. She should be campaigning on what she’s done and what she hopes to do instead of using scare tactics to intimidate people into voting for her. It’s disappointing.”

McAdams says there are several issues he plans to focus on if he’s elected in November, including helping Utah with Medicaid expansion, which he says Love has dropped the ball on.

“The legislature passed a form of Medicaid expansion this year. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was the plan that got through the process. It now goes back to D.C and it’s waiting for waivers (from the Trump Administration). She (Love) didn’t pick up the phone. She didn’t offer to help. Sen. Hatch opened some doors for us, but she did nothing.”

If McAdams wins November’s election, needless to say, he will bring a different policy stance than the all-Republican delegation from Utah that now occupies those seats. How will he differ on the issues?

Federal deficit:

“I believe in balancing the budget. As the mayor of Salt Lake County, we balance our budget every year. When Congress passed a budget, they increased the deficit by almost $2 trillion. I think the government needs to live within its means and fiscal responsibilities. Those aren’t just words you throw out in an election year.”

Trump tax cuts:

“I think there were some good things in there. I think tax reform is a middle-class need. I think we can afford to give tax relief to the middle class. The plan passed by Congress saddled each and every Utahns with $6,000 debt. While the bill did do some good things to make sure American businesses are competitive, and lowering the corporate tax rate is something I would have supported, it didn’t do enough for the middle class. For that reason, I would have voted no on that bill.”

Listen to the podcast of our interview with McAdams here