Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says he's not worried about the negative campaigning that is inevitably coming his way now that he's decided to challenge Rep. Mia Love next year.
"After it became known this was something I was considering, I got a lot of threats and insinuations that this campaign would be ugly, that super PACs were gearing up to come in and attack me," says McAdams in a podcast interview with UtahPolicy.com. "It did give me pause. I had to talk to my wife about this was something we wanted to put our family through."
UtahPolicy.com has learned that several prominent Utahns who are supporters of Mia Love contacted McAdams in the days prior to his announcement to urge him not to run. Some of those who suggested that McAdams think twice about the race were encouraged to do so by Love's campaign.
McAdams says that effort actually had the opposite effect on him.
"It reaffirmed my desire to run," he said. "When good people are bullied out of running for office because of fear of negative campaigning, then Washington is lost."
One of the early lines of attack against McAdams, highlighted in a fundraising email sent out by Love's campaign when McAdams had not yet officially entered the race, is he would be in lockstep with persistent GOP boogeyman Nancy Pelosi.
McAdams brushes off that contention and possibly telegraphs how he plans to campaign against Love.
"It's laughable to make that claim. To make that claim you have to be an out of touch, Washington D.C. insider. People know me, they know I'm not a partisan hack."
McAdams says he decided to jump into the race because he thinks our current members of Congress are not helping local governments enough.
"There always seems to be a brick wall when we need a federal partnership," says McAdams. "For instance, Speaker Greg Hughes came up with a healthcare solution. It's not everything I had hoped for, but I support it because it's a solution that will help people. We're still sitting here waiting for Washington to give us the approval to move forward with that. Where is our representation fighting to get that approval? Utah is a crash test dummy for Washington. Every time we build momentum and speed, we hit that brick wall."