SALT LAKE CITY— After toying with a run herself to reclaim the 4th Congressional District seat she held for two terms, former Utah Rep. Mia Love endorsed state lawmaker Kim Coleman Wednesday in the four-way GOP primary race.
“I am supporting Kim Coleman because she is working her tail off and had the guts to jump into a race early that was going to be the most difficult district in Utah,” Love said in a statement. Love became a CNN contributor after losing in 2018 to Utah’s only Democrat in Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams.
In a tweet of the endorsement, Colemen wrote, “So delighted that my good friend @MiaBLove has joined my team! Thanks for your help — we will win the seat back from @BenMcAdams.”
Coleman is on the June 30 primary ballot along with former NFL player Burgess Owens, former KSL Newsradio host Jay Mcfarland and a former regional finance director for now-Sen. Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, Trent Christensen.
Coleman and Owens were picked as primary candidates by Republican delegates at last month’s virtual state party convention, while Owens, Mcfarland and Christensen all qualified for a place on the ballot by collecting voter signatures.
Love had repeatedly raised concerns about the GOP field, telling the Deseret News nearly a year ago she was poised to run unless a Republican she deemed strong enough to take on McAdams got in the race. At the time, Coleman was seen as a likely candidate but the pair had not yet talked.
One of Love’s initial choices, state Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert, R-Orem, jumped in the race for several months but dropped out citing concerns about the impact on his dry cleaning business. Late last year, Love again talked of possibly becoming a candidate herself.
McAdams, a former Salt Lake County mayor, is seen as one of the nation’s most vulnerable congressional Democrats running for reelection, but some rating outlets have said the 4th District that encompasses portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties is leaning Democratic this November.
Coleman’s competitors for the GOP nomination downplayed Love’s endorsement.
“We were not surprised at all. We expected that she would probably choose Burgess or Kim. We weren’t looking for her endorsement and we weren’t expecting her endorsement,” Mcfarland said. “We’re really trying to do something different here. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re on the radar of people like Mia Love. That’s fine.”
Owens did not seek Love’s endorsement, according to his spokesman, Jesse Ranney. In a statement, Owens said that he’s “super grateful” for a long list of supporters, including conservative media personalities Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and actor Jon Voight.
Christensen said he doesn’t “think that even Mia’s endorsement can help Kim beat McAdams. Kim is radically too far to the right for this Salt Lake County-based, must-win congressional district. If Kim is the nominee, Nancy Pelosi will unfortunately remain speaker. I’m the only candidate with significant job creation experience that can beat McAdams.”