NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. â€” After a 1-point loss in Utah last year, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love is actively laying the groundwork for a second challenge to the sole Democrat in the stateâ€™s delegation, Rep. Jim Matheson.
In preparation for a bid, Love has hired former state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen, who was widely heralded last year for successfully managing the re-election campaign of Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Love and Hansen sat down with CQ Roll Call for an interview Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she was scheduled to speak.
â€œWe are looking at it very seriously,â€ Love said. â€œWe are trying to get people engaged and going, and let them know that we have to start early so that we are not starting from behind.â€
Love is reaching out to donors now, some 20 months before the election, and putting in place a campaign team far earlier than last cycle. Love didnâ€™t formally enter the wide, 4th District Republican field until January 2012. She shocked Republicans by emerging from the April state party convention with the nomination in hand.
â€œGetting that message out takes a lot of effort, a lot of funds, so we want to make sure that we are defining ourselves before the opposition does,â€ Love said.
As the nominee, Love quickly gained national attention â€” including a coveted speaking slot at the Republican National Convention â€” for her unique background and potential to become the first black Republican woman in Congress. That looked to be a strong possibility in Utahâ€™s redrawn and Republican-leaning 4th district, much of which was new to Matheson.
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