Time to turn the volume on Utah’s 4th Congressional District race between Rep. Mia Love and Democrat Doug Owens up to 11.
Thursday morning the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee revealed they are “aggressively targeting” Love’s seat, along with 18 others in 2016, as part of their “Red to Blue” program.
Politico reports this means national funding will flow into Utah’s 4th District on behalf of Owens.
“National donors traditionally use the list to decide how to direct funding to lesser known candidates. It also helps solidify which seats Democrats think they’ll have the best chance of capturing during elections, establishing an early benchmark for the cycle.
The DCCC has been vetting the recruits for months. The campaign arm has also been poring over voter data to determine which districts they can mostly likely flip from Republican to Democratic during a cycle in which the presidential race will consume most of the oxygen.”
Many national observers have already pegged this race as one of the most competitive during the 2016 election cycle. Love beat Owens by 5-points in 2014, despite outspending him by more than a 5-1 margin.
The Owens campaign released an email statement from DCCC chairman Ben Ray Lujan, D-New Mexico:
“Doug Owens is an independent, commonsense leader with a deep commitment to bringing Utah values to Washington and keeping Americans safe,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan. “It’s clear that Utahns are responding to his positive message and that he will have the resources needed to build and execute a winning campaign.”
Owens, also in an email statement to UtahPolicy.com, used the news to take a swipe at Love.
“National attention is nice, but I’m not a party guy – I’m in this race to put Utah first,” said Owens. “Voters are fed up with politicians who aren’t getting anything done. Since she was elected, Mia Love has been on TV 30 times, but hasn’t passed a single bill. We deserve better.”
During the last fundraising quarter, Owens outraised Love, giving Democrats hope that he will be competitive during the coming cycle. Adding DCCC money to Owens’ efforts should buoy those hopes even further.
However, it’s going to be tough for Owens to defeat the freshman incumbent. A recent UtahPolicy.com survey finds Love has a 62% approval rating in her district. That same poll finds 30% disapprove, giving her a net positive rating of +32.
Love’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.