October has been a month full of good news for Mia Love. The Operation Counterweight member running for Congress in Utah’s newly created 4th Congressional District has faced an uphill battle since she entered the race.
She began her campaign in the Republican primary with little name recognition or money to speak of. Since then, Love has captured the attention of the collective conservative nation, even securing a prominent speaking role at the Republican National Convention.
Her opponent, Jim Matheson, a relocated Democratic incumbent, has long been considered the front runner. But the tide is turning, and Matheson’s former air inevitably has sharply eroded in the wake of Love’s surging campaign.
This surge is evidenced by a number of key factors.
1. Fundraising efforts: Mia Love’s fundraising totals have seen dramatic increases during the course of her campaign. The most recent quarter’s numbers show that Mia Love had doubled Jim Matheson’s numbers.
Capitalizing on her speech at the Republican National Convention and Utah campaign events featuring GOP stars, Mia Love raised twice as much money in the past quarter as Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.
Love raked in slightly more than $1 million from July through September, according to her latest financial disclosure report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission
Matheson raised just under $500,000 in the same time frame. This good news, however, must be qualified. While Love outraised Matheson in Q3, the longtime Congressman still holds an overall fundraising advantage.
Matheson is juicing his efforts by having groups he controls spend money in his district, as discussed in this Love campaign release:
A group of House Democrats headed by Rep. Jim Matheson funneled $1.4 million to political groups that have returned the money to Matheson in the form of attack ads against Mayor Mia Love, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data. The Matheson allies, Center Forward and House Majority PAC, each received roughly $700,000 from the Blue Dog Democrats – a group co-chaired by Matheson – and together have spent almost the exact same amount in negative attack ads against Mayor Love.
Love, a Republican, now leads the six-term Democratic congressman 49 percent to 43 percent. Dan Jones & Associates found that among registered voters, 36 percent definitely favor Love, while 13 percent lean her way. The poll showed 31 percent definitely voting for Matheson and 12 percent leaning toward him. Eight percent are undecided.
Jones surveyed 414 residents in the 4th District from Sept. 26 to Sept. 29. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
“She is really coming on,” pollster Dan Jones said.
3. Even the Daily Kos can’t help but recognize Love’s gains, as they’ve shifted Utah-04 from “toss-up” to “Leaning Republican.”
Dem Rep. Jim Matheson has survived the unsurvivable for years, but it’s hard not to feel like his luck may have just run out.
These are all certainly encouraging signs, but Love hasn’t won anything yet, and she’s still behind on overall fundraising.