Utah Republican Mia Love fell just short in her bid to unseat Democratic Rep. James Matheson after a campaign that saw her gain national recognition as a rising GOP star.
Mrs. Love, a Mormon whose parents are from Haiti, would have been the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress, and her prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention in August was an indication of her rising profile within the party.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Matheson held 49 percent of the vote to Mrs. Love’s 48 percent in Utah’s newly-created 4th Congressional District, giving the centrist Democrat a seventh term in Congress.\
Mr. Matheson, son of former Utah Gov. Scott Matheson, was seen as vulnerable after losing much of his former district to the redistricting process. Republicans poured in $5 million to defeat him, which was matched by Democrats, a previously unheard-of level of campaign spending for a Utah congressional race.
But Mr. Matheson, one of the last of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats, showed why he’s been able to foil repeated GOP efforts to defeat him even in an strongly conservative state. His campaign softened Mrs. Love’s hold on her base by hammering her support for tax increases as mayor of Saratoga Springs while criticizing her for advocating cuts to federal social programs, including the abolition of the Department of Education.