- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The state’s most high-profile political race this year will soon spill onto Utah televisions.

Republican Mia Love and Democrat Doug Owens have spent a combined half a million dollars on network campaign ads set to start airing Sept. 15.

Both are vying to represent Utah’s 4th Congressional District, which Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson is vacating.

The district, which leans Republican, stretches from Salt Lake City suburbs south to Sanpete County.

Love, the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, is spending about $356,000 on 30-second spots on Utah’s four big broadcast networks, according to Federal Communications Commission records.



“I think you’ll see quite a bit of her on TV,” Love’s campaign manager Dave Hansen said.

Love gained national attention in 2012 when she unsuccessfully challenged Matheson. Soon after that loss, she announced another run and has since had a head start on fundraising and name recognition.

If she wins in November, Love will become the first black female Republican ever to serve in Congress.

Owens, a Salt Lake City attorney and son of late U.S. Rep. Wayne Owens of Utah, is spending about $227,000 on network ads.

Casey Frary, Owens’ campaign manager, said the campaign is partnering the ads with a push for Owens to appear at as many events and meetings as possible.

“We want to talk a lot about Doug and the issues important to him but also make sure the voters understand there is a difference between he and his opponent,” she said. “People haven’t gotten to know Doug, and they are still finding out about him.”

Brigham Young University political science professor Adam Brown told the Daily Herald (https://bit.ly/1qm9ovQ) that ads may help the lesser-known Owens introduce himself to voters.

“Information could be an effective way to show he is like Matheson, and that he is a conservative Democrat,” Brown said.

But Brown said he’s not optimistic that the ads by themselves will help Owens match Love’s edge.

Many viewers tune out political ads unless they’re already supporting a candidate, he said.

They can provide a boost, Brown said, but they need to be partnered with in-person campaign appearances and a strong push to ensure voters are engaged and getting to the polls on election day.

Besides the political ads that are poised to drop soon, viewers can catch Love and Owens on Oct. 14, when they square off in a televised debate put on by the newly formed Utah Debate Commission.

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Information from: The Daily Herald, https://www.heraldextra.com

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