The race between Mia Love and Doug Owens is getting some national attention, but not for the reasons you might think.
It’s not because the contest is expected to be very close – Utah’s 4th Congressional District leans heavily Republican. It’s because Mia Love has another shot at making history. If she wins she will be the first black Republican woman in Washington.
The former Saratoga Springs mayor is a rising GOP star and a top recruit for a party hoping to diversify. In 2012, Love challenged Rep. Jim Matheson, a moderate Democrat who had managed to hold the 4th District seat even against previous GOP tides. Love gave a much-acclaimed speech at the Tampa convention in 2012, but went on to lose to Matheson that fall by just under 800 votes.
Last year, Love announced she would take on Matheson again. The increasingly favorable GOP climate and the president’s lagging numbers were expected to be helpful, and Matheson — one of the few Blue Dog Democrats left in Congress — decided to retire. His impending exit all but ensures a Republican takeover of the seat he has held for 15 years.