Rep. Mia Love was a rising star two years ago when she became the first black Republican woman ever elected to Congress — as well as a symbol of the more diverse, inclusive party that GOP leaders said they needed to build.
But now, the prospect of Donald Trump leading the Republican ticket has Utah Democrats hopeful they can reclaim Love’s conservative House seat in November. And the local GOP is already working on a secret plan to keep its voters motivated even if Trump, whom GOP activists decisively rejected at Tuesday’s caucuses, is the presidential nominee in November.
“We’re calling it Plan T,” said James Evans, the GOP state party chairman. The party is preparing for a statewide get-out-the-vote effort to remind Republicans who don’t want to back Trump that the presidential race isn’t the only contest on the ballot.
Utah is typically inhospitable territory for Democrats, but it’s plenty bad for Trump, too: On Tuesday, he won only 14 percent of the GOP vote in the state, his worst showing in the 30 states that have held primaries and caucuses so far. He did just as badly in Salt Lake County, which is home to most of the voters in Love’s 4th District.
Utah Republicans know they might have a problem. After Trump carried eight states on Super Tuesday, state Republican bigwigs began crafting a plan to protect other GOP officeholders from anti-Trump backlash.