In an event that pundits are calling unprecedented, voters in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District shocked the nation on Tuesday by electing Mia Love, a Republican and a Mormon, to fill the seat of retiring Democrat Jim Matheson.
“I just can’t believe I was able to win here, in this state,” said Love. “People told me I was crazy to think that a practicing Mormon and an insane right-wing Republican such as myself would be able to make any headway with the people of the very conservative Fourth District. But this just goes to show that Utahns aren’t as parochial and close-minded as stereotypes might suggest. ”
Historians estimate that it has been roughly two years since Utah last elected a Mormon Republican to Congress, long before the existence of technological innovations that we now take for granted such as the iPhone 6 or Ariana Grande. “Two years is a long time,” said historian Mitch Overton. “It’s like…over 700 days. And when you multiply that by 24 hours, you’re getting into tens of thousands of hours. To think that it’s been over ten thousand hours since Utah last sent an LDS Republican to Washington is really quite stunning. The election of Mia Love has really sent a message to the rest of the country that we here in Utah can be a more diverse group than people might expect.”
While Utahns from both parties are celebrating Love’s historic victory, some believe the price was too high. “It’s just unfortunate that in order to put Love in office, we had to eliminate the only Democratic seat in Utah’s congressional delegation. I know being a congressional Democrat from Utah is kind of cliché, and that it’s healthy for us as a state to get rid of our only Democratic seat in Congress, but I just kind of selfishly liked seeing that small island of blue in an ocean of red on electoral maps,” said Salt Lake City resident Gordon Hill. “But I absolutely agree that we need someone in Congress from our state who is willing to make deep cuts in food assistance to the poor, school lunch subsidies, and special education aid, all while leaving the Defense Department’s massive budget untouched. That just makes financial and moral sense, and shows that Love’s values really are in line with the people of Utah.”
Love’s opponent, Democrat Doug Owens, was gracious in defeat. “As much as I hate to lose, it’s just nice to see that the people of Utah were able to see beyond their own narrow ideological lenses and elect someone who’s not only an extremist Tea Party Republican, but also a Mormon. In this state, those are real handicaps that take grit and determination to overcome. Love’s tenacity was really a sight to behold.”
Love celebrated by continuing to remain silent about Darrien Hunt—the African-American resident of the town where Love was Mayor—who was shot and killed while fleeing from police in September.