AP NEWS

Rep. Mia Love will campaign in Utah during GOP convention

July 12, 2016 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY — Not only is Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, skipping next week’s Republican National Convention despite being elected a delegate, she also has decided not to go on a congressional trip to Israel.

Just two weeks ago, Love’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said the congresswoman was giving up her delegate slot at the four-day convention that begins in Cleveland July 18 to study terrorism overseas.

Now, though, Hansen said she’s going to spend the time in the 4th District instead.

The first-term congresswoman faces a tough re-election challenge from Democrat Wayne Owens, who came within 5 percentage points of winning the seat in 2014. The race has been rated a toss-up by two nonpartisan national political entities.

Hansen said campaign events are being scheduled in Utah during the convention where controversial billionaire businessman Donald Trump is set to be formally nominated as the Republican presidential candidate.

“I think her time is best spent here in the state,” Hansen said, adding that there are political “advantages and disadvantages” to being at the convention, but in Utah, she’ll be able to campaign face to face with voters.

“She is her own best salesperson. When you can put her in front of people, meeting with people, she is magic. She does an unbelievable job,” he said, of winning them over.

Love, the first black Republican woman in Congress, gave a prime-time speech at the 2012 GOP convention. While she lost her bid that year to unseat now-retired Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, Love gained a national profile.

Hansen said he was not aware of any request for Love to speak at this year’s GOP national convention, but he said “there are some that would have loved to have had her there.”

He also said she was never vetted as a possible running mate for Trump despite some speculation.

Utah’s all-Republican congressional delegation is split over attending the GOP convention. Besides Love, both Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart are staying away.

But Rep. Rob Bishop, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Mike Lee are headed to Cleveland. Bishop and Lee are both among Utah’s 40 delegates elected at the state party’s convention in April.

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