The big headline from this weekend’s Utah Republican convention may have been that Senator Orrin Hatch was forced into a GOP primary against challenger Dan Liljenquist. But perhaps the more surprising development was little known Saratoga Springs mayor Mia Love's overwhelming victory at the convention in her bid to defeat Utah’s only Democratic member of Congress, Jim Matheson.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Love won over 70 percent of the delegate vote on Saturday in an upset, securing the GOP nomination for Utah’s newly created Fourth Congressional District. Here’s more from the Tribune:
“Today we have an opportunity to do something very special. Today we can start breaking a pattern,” Love exhorted delegates before the final vote. “Today we can start bringing Jim Matheson home. Elect one nominee today, so we can take this fight to Jim Matheson tomorrow.”
With the endorsement of her competitors — former Rep. Stephen Sandstrom and attorney Jay Cobb — and the backing of Mitt Romney’s son, Josh Romney, she managed to muster the 60 percent threshold needed to avoid a primary.
If Love wins in November, she would be the first female black Republican in Congress, as well as the first black member of Congress from Utah. Love’s parents immigrated from Haiti to New York City, where she was born. Love eventually moved to Utah, where she is married and has three children. Love was elected mayor of Saratoga Springs in 2010.
Love’s Democratic opponent, Matheson, currently represents Utah’s Second Congressional District but has opted to run in the new Fourth District, which is slightly friendlier to Democrats.