Utah Republican Mia Love is a rising star in the Grand Old Party. The first African-American mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah is considered one of the “top 10 Republicans to follow on Twitter” and was also a featured speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Love, 37, ran an unsuccessful 2012 campaign for the House of Representatives against Democrat Jim Matheson. However, she lost the race for Utah’s second congressional district by less than 800 votes, so she’s setting her sights on a House seat in 2014.
The Haitian-born, Brooklyn-raised contender announced her candidacy May 18 and has high hopes that her second bid will end in victory. Right now Love is focused on building a solid and thorough campaign.
“I think most important is finding the best political strategists in the state of Utah and having them work on our campaign, and really getting a road map from now until the election,” she told the Hill.
One of the strategists Love has secured is Dave Hansen, a seasoned campaigner who served as an adviser during Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) 2012 re-election bid. Love is also seeking a new internal pollster to assist with her election efforts.
Love’s first House bid was criticized for being poorly-run without proper guidance.
“There are so many different things you can point out that we could’ve tweaked,” she told The Hill. “Most of all, we have to get Republicans to turn out.”
Love will be in a tough battle against incumbent Matheson. He told The Hill he is confident he will win his eighth House race.
“I’ve successfully run seven times in the reddest state in the country,” he explained. “People know me, they know who I am, and I have a reputation with my constituents that trumps partisanship.”
Matheson also said he thinks Love “represents positions that are quite partisan and way out there” including the privatizing of Social Security.
Despite Love running in a red state, she still has a war on her hands. One GOP strategist thinks her decision to announce her candidacy early will increase her chances of winning.
“This time, she needs a stronger message about what she’s going to do and why she’s running,” the strategist said. “Last cycle, her team got a late start and they didn’t really get where they needed to be in terms of message and ground game.”
Love is sure she can correct the mistakes she made in her bid and drive home a strong message.
“We’re really going to focus on what we bring to the table,” she said. “I’ll bring my message of fiscal discipline, limited government [and] fiscal responsibility to people frustrated with Washington and fed up with the dysfunction.”
If she’s elected in 2014, Love will be the Republican Party’s first black female member of Congress.