Mia Love is running for congress again in 2018 and she’s scared of a guy with an orange bus and a smile. Her fear is justified now that Utah’s 4th Congressional District has become a battleground. Enter stage left Ben McAdams.
“Love says McAdams enters congressional race to advance career, not political agenda,” read KSL’s recent write up about her reaction to Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams challenging her in the upcoming race. But isn’t this exactly what Love did? Before she went to Washington she was mayor of Saratoga Springs — a city with 24,000 people. McAdams is a county mayor — the largest in Utah with over a million people in it. It would seem fitting that someone overseeing a county would consider doing a job for a district with an estimated population of 790,000.
So why would Love say this? Is it just a swipe for the sake of swipes? No, she said it because she knows the numbers and they’re a little frightful.
District 4 is roughly made up by Salt Lake County at 85 percent. The person running the county that primarily makes up her district wants her job. Wouldn’t you be scared? Now that we know the source of the fear we can start to see it materialize. On Doug Wright’s show she scoffed at McAdams for saying he’s in it for the work, not to have a job. Beyond population numbers there’s also past election results to look at.
Love won her re-election in 2016 when she defeated Doug Owens with 53% of the vote. When McAdams won his election in 2012 he won with 54% of the vote. While this is only 1 percentage point, again we have to look at the numbers to see where the smell of fear is coming from. McAdams took in roughly 203,000 votes while Love took in 147,000 votes. Out of all of her votes, 114,981 of them came from Salt Lake County — take a whiff, that’s 78 percent you smell.
She’s not just running for Congress, she’s also been running scared from her constituents since the last presidential election, too. In August the Deseret News published an article where a Democratic group criticized her for not holding a town hall in over 628 days. Meanwhile her peers in neighboring districts have all held town hall events for their constituents — in some cases more than once. When asked about the prospect of a similar meeting she deflects by saying she’ll hold small gatherings of four to five people at a time because, “I cannot really raise Utah’s voice if I can’t hear above the clutter and the anger.”
If McAdams starts conducting town hall meetings on Love’s turf with her constituents she’ll have even more to worry about. Love could have mitigated this back at the beginning of the year but chose not to, so the chance of potential hens coming home to roost is strong. They can’t be angry with him either because he hasn’t been representing them in Washington after all, and who wouldn’t want to meet with the county mayor to discuss their concerns?
Love is running alright, running scared.
Donald Aguirre is a journalism student at the University of Utah and a cofounder of Utah Indivisible.