Mia Love likely to challenge Jim Matheson in 2014

Posted at 8:54 PM, Mar 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-23 22:54:49-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah -- Could it be round two for Mia Love and Utah's only Democrat in Congress, Jim Matheson?

The Saratoga Springs mayor has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. But does that mean she'll run again in Utah's 4th District after losing by less than a thousand votes in 2012? No one from Love’s camp is confirming a 2014 run, but according to one political analyst, both Love and Matheson are in a good position for the fight.

"A full court press by both of them, if I can use March Madness basketball terminology. It will be “the race” in the state of Utah," said Tim Chambless of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

Last year, Love and Matheson made headlines, running the most expensive congressional race in Utah history. The potential come-back for 2014 could arguably be an even more hotly contested battle.

Chambless explained,“The election for 2014 for congress began, really, just days after the November 6th general election in 2012."

Love has hired Dave Hansen, the longtime campaign manager for Sen. Orrin Hatch and former chair of the Republican party.

According to Chambless, Hansen will be a useful ally to have if Love hopes to unseat an incumbent like Matheson.

"The name Matheson is well respected. He knows how to win," he said.

Recent national television appearances and a speech at the annual CPAC gathering have put Love back in the limelight lately, but Chambless suggested it might not be shining on her favorably.

The analyst said, "She's going to have to knock on doors and talk to people in the district who vote, rather than speaking in the state of Washington or national talk shows. Ultimately, that helps to explain why he won by 768 votes."

If Love were to run and win, she would be the first black woman to be a member of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives.

FOX13 reached out to Hansen, but he did not have any comment.

Matheson sent a statement saying, “It’s awfully early to be talking about campaigning, and focusing on party politics isn't what Utahns care about.  Everywhere I go, people tell me their focus is on bringing people together and getting things done.  What people want from their elected officials is to work hard, and represent them well.  That's always been the way I approach my job, and the politics take care of themselves.”