“The presidential race isn’t the only contest on the ballot”
Between the dust-up over Mia B. Love (R-UT) using taxpayer money ($1,160) to attend the White House Correspondence Dinner and her somewhat high unfavorables, Love is facing a tough reelection bid this November and trails her Democrat opponent Doug Owens 51-45.
Recognizing that she has work to do in order to keep her seat, Love has decided to skip the Republican National Convention.
Rep. Mia Love has decided to skip the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, giving up her delegate slot to focus on her re-election bid and to go on a congressional trip to Israel.
She saw no benefit in attending the gathering where Donald Trump is expected to claim the party’s presidential nomination.
“I don’t see any upsides to it,” Love said Friday. “I don’t see how this benefits the state.”
She’s the only member of Utah’s 40-person delegation to back out of the convention, though others are considering it, largely over opposition to Trump.
Love herself does not cite Trump as a primary reason for skipping the convention, but considering that he lost the Utah caucus to Ted Cruz (69% to Trump’s 14%), Trump’s relative lack of popularity in Utah may also be a contributing factor in her decision.
The Salt Lake Tribune continues:
Love won’t say whether she’ll vote for Trump in November, though she vehemently rules out voting for Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. Love said she’s not sure what Trump really believes or wants to do once in office, and she has taken note that he remains deeply unpopular in Utah.
“Being thoughtful and taking my time and not blindly following is representing my district well,” she said.
The first-term congresswoman also brushed aside talk that Trump may consider her for his vice presidential nominee, rumors given fresh life Friday by former Trump aide Michael Caputo during an interview with Fox News Radio.
Love told The Salt Lake Tribune that she has never met or spoken to Trump and that she has no knowledge of any relationship between her campaign and his.
Asked if she would consider being Trump’s vice president, she said: “I’m endeared and close to the people I represent, and I’m not going to abandon them. I’ve just gotten started, and there’s a lot of work to do.”
Earlier in the presidential contest, Love backed Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and she noted that she ran to be a national delegate when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was still in the race. Now that it is just Trump, Love has decided that her time would best be spent in places other than Cleveland.
Trump, however, does appear to be a factor in down ballot races this year in states in which he is not particularly well-liked. With the Democrats already confident that they can win back the Senate this year (and they may), they are also quite gleeful about the possibility of winning the House, as well.
This is a very real concern, as I’ve said, no matter who wins the White House in November. The outcome of a Hillary win and a Democrat Congress will make Obama’s first two years in office look positively right-wing extremist, and the outcome of a Trump win and a Democrat Congress will jeopardize everything from his Supreme Court nominations to the funding of his wall and the majority of his other campaign priorities.
The specter of losing the House in November is influencing the Utah Republicans who are working overtime to help Love win.
Rep. Mia Love was a rising star two years ago when she became the first black Republican woman ever elected to Congress — as well as a symbol of the more diverse, inclusive party that GOP leaders said they needed to build.
But now, the prospect of Donald Trump leading the Republican ticket has Utah Democrats hopeful they can reclaim Love’s conservative House seat in November. And the local GOP is already working on a secret plan to keep its voters motivated even if Trump, whom GOP activists decisively rejected at Tuesday’s caucuses, is the presidential nominee in November.
“We’re calling it Plan T,” said James Evans, the GOP state party chairman. The party is preparing for a statewide get-out-the-vote effort to remind Republicans who don’t want to back Trump that the presidential race isn’t the only contest on the ballot.
. . . . Love is an asset worth protecting for the Republican Party, both in Utah and nationally. The GOP tapped her for a coveted speaking slot at its 2012 convention, during her first run for Congress, and her story — Love’s parents emigrated from Haiti the year before she was born, 40 years before she was elected to the House — stands out in a House Republican conference that is more than 90 percent white.
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