- Associated Press - Monday, October 17, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Republican U.S. Rep. Mia Love is still raking in cash for her first run at re-election this year, tripling the amount raised by her Democratic opponent in recent months, according to the latest campaign fundraising reports.

The newest member of Utah’s all-Republican congressional delegation took in $1.4 million from July through September, marking a new fundraising high for her ahead of the November election. Democrat Doug Owens raised about $459,000 for his second run against Love, according to his campaign finance reports.

A spokesman for the Owens campaign said they’re not worried about the difference.

“Dollar for dollar, we have what we need to get our message out,” said Taylor Morgan, who pointed out that a large part of Love’s donations came from out of state.

Dave Hansen, Love’s campaign manager, countered that her national contributions show she has widespread support.

“There are a lot of people across the country who want Mia Love to be re-elected,” he said. Direct-mailers were key to her fundraising strategy, he said.

The former mayor of Saratoga Springs became the first black Republican woman in Congress when she was elected and is considered a rising star by the GOP.

Owens, though, had a strong showing in that race with 46 percent of the vote to Love’s 51 percent in 2014. He’s a Salt Lake City attorney and son of former U.S. Rep. Wayne Owens.

Love heads into the final weeks of their latest contest with $1.19 million in her campaign account, more than three times Owens‘ $344,000.

Each candidate raised most of their money from individual donors rather than political action committees, the reports filed late last week show.

The two are facing off to represent Utah’s 4th Congressional District, a Republican-leaning area that covers politically mixed Salt Lake City suburbs and north-central regions of the state and was held by a Democrat until 2014.

During a debate last week, the two sparred over their party’s nominees for president and the Love’s use of U.S. House mailing privileges.

Owens criticized $300,000 worth of mass mailers she sent to her district, calling them a self-promotional waste of money.

Love, though, said they were a legal, practical way to communicate with people her in district and that her office saved money elsewhere.

Those mailers were made to inform people, not solicit donations, Hansen said.

Love has kept her distance from her party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump this year, skipping the Republican National Convention and releasing a statement staying definitively that she would not vote for him following a 2005 video where the billionaire candidate made lewd, sexually charged comments about women.

Owens said that while he’s voting for Clinton, he’s not endorsing her because he has many disagreements with her.

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