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Utah’s Mia Love is back in the hunt for Congress

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Chris Detrick | Tribune file photo

By Matt Canham

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Mar 22 2013 02:41PM
Updated Mar 23, 2013 01:36PM

In just a matter of days, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love has gone from seriously considering a rematch against Rep. Jim Matheson to filing a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

The move is an indication that Love is likely to start raising money for the 2014 contest.

In November, she lost to Matheson by just 768 votes in what was the most expensive House race in the state’s history. The candidates and outside groups spent more than $11 million in the fight over the newly created 4th Congressional District.

Love has recently hired Dave Hansen, Sen. Orrin Hatch’s longtime campaign manager and former Utah Republican Party chairman, and begun ramping up her public appearances on cable news shows and even in Washington at the Conservative Political Action Conference. She still has her campaign website up and running.

She was in Pasco, Wash., to speak at a Republican dinner on Friday.

In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune last weekend, Love said, "We’re seriously looking at it again," when asked if she would challenge Matheson a second time.

Matheson, a seven-term Democratic congressman, has pulled out some narrow victories and continues to represent the most conservative district of any House Democrat. He has said it’s only been a few months since the last election, too soon to start talking about the 2014 race.

"We just finished an election, and I think most folks I talk to are tired of the politicking," Matheson told The Tribune in an earlier interview. "They want people to work constructively to get things done."

Love, who recently appeared on ABC News’ "This Week with George Stephanopolous," said at that time she would forgo seeking another term as mayor of Saratoga Springs if she decided to make a second bid for Congress.

In last year’s campaign she painted Matheson as being a lackey of President Barack Obama — linking him to Obamacare and the swelling national debt, even though Matheson voted against the Affordable Care Act and stepped over the party line more often than any other Democrat in the last Congress. Last year he voted with Republicans and against the majority of Democrats 68 percent of the time.

However, that was a significant shift from previous years when he had sided with the GOP in a far fewer percentage of votes.

Love said in her recent Tribune interview that following last year’s election "the environment in Washington hasn’t gotten any better. … We need people who are going to be leaders, people who are going to do something about it."

mcanham@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mattcanham

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