Washington • A Democratic group is targeting GOP Rep. Mia Love for not hosting any town halls, launching a digital advertising campaign and a website that points out that the last time she took questions from a large in-person audience was in 2015.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unveiled LoveTownHallWatch.com and is running online ads this week as part of an effort to point out many Republicans are refusing to address their constituents in large groups. Love is one of 25 Republicans the DCCC is going after, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin.
“If Washington Republicans like Mia Love are heartless enough to rip away health care from their constituents but too scared to face them at public town halls, they don’t deserve to be in Congress,” DCCC Spokesman Drew Godinich said in a statement. “This campaign highlights the work of grassroots volunteers in Utah to hold their congresswoman accountable for her votes and lack of transparency.”
The Utah Republican Party warned its elected leaders against holding town halls, noting the heightened political environment and the anger-fueled events other members of Congress have faced this year.
Then-Rep. Jason Chaffetz held a town hall earlier this year and was met with constituents upset that, among other issues, he wasn’t pursuing investigations into President Donald Trump. Rep. Chris Stewart also held town halls — one in the rural part of his district where he was well received and one in Salt Lake City where he was met by a largely hostile crowd.
Other members of the Utah delegation — Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee and Rep. Rob Bishop — have, like Love, skipped town halls except the online or telephonic kind that gives the politician the ability to screen and select the questioners.
Love’s office declined comment on the DCCC website or ads. Love sponsored a recent amendment that allows Congress members to use public money to beef up their home security systems following the shooting of a member earlier this year and threats Love says she has received.
The Utah Republican did hold open office hours earlier this month at her congressional district office, inviting groups of no more than 10 people to converse with her about their concerns or suggestions. Two West Jordan police officers were stationed at the office door.
“It’s set up in a way that we actually have dialogue,” Love said at the time.
The DCCC declined to say how much it was spending on the ad buy but noted it was in the five-figures.