A Utah congresswoman who sent out at least two emails attacking her Democratic opponent for supporting marriage equality officially conceded defeat on Monday.
U.S. Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), narrowly lost her bid for re-election to Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, who prevailed by 694 votes out of more than 269,000 cast. Many analysts named McAdams the victor last week, but Love waited until Monday to give a concession speech.
In September and October, Love — whose heavily gerrymandered 4th Congressional District contains a significant part of gay-friendly Salt Lake County — mocked McAdams for his support of marriage equality in at least two campaign emails. The first, sent over Labor Day weekend, mocked McAdams for claiming to be a moderate while supporting “liberal causes” like same-sex marriage.
The second email, which the campaign later said was sent in error, again mocked McAdams’ support for marriage equality and other “East Coast liberal values” by linking him to U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) who endorsed McAdams’ bid for Congress.
“Kennedy III champions gay marriage — Just like Ben!” the email read. “He certainly embraces East Coast liberal values, like his buddy Joe Kennedy — but these are not Utah’s values.”
Love’s defeat means that Democrats made a net gain of 39 House seats in the 2018 midterm elections, with another Democrat leading in a congressional race in California where votes are still being tabulated.
The massive gains in the House, many of which were fueled by opposition to President Trump, came as Democrats enjoyed their largest popular-vote margin in a midterm election since the Watergate scandal.
On Nov. 7, the day after the election, but before the 4th District race was officially called, Trump mocked Love and a number of other Republican representatives who lost their races for not embracing him closely enough.
“Mia Love gave me no love,” Trump continued. “And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”
In her concession speech, Love hit back at Trump, questioning why he would badmouth fellow Republicans.
“The president’s behavior towards me made me wonder, what did he have to gain by saying such a thing about a fellow Republican?” Love said. “It was not really about asking him to do more, was it? Or was it something else? … However, this gave me a clear vision of his world as it is — no real relationships, just convenient transactions. That is an insufficient way to implement sincere service and policy.”
Love also blasted Republicans for failing to reach out to minority voters and show them how conservative policies can improve their lives and chances for greater social mobility.
“Because Republicans never take minority communities into their home and citizens into their home and into their hearts, they stay with Democrats and bureaucrats in Washington because they do take them home or at least make them feel like they have a home,” Love said. “I’ve seen the cost of conservatives for not truly taking people into their hearts.
“Democrats saw newly elected black members and women into Congress this election,” she continued. “This is a matter of fact that Republicans lost in this regard. However, minority communities need to ask themselves this question also: At what cost? What is the cost of staying with the Democrat Party that perpetually delivers exactly what you need to stay exactly where you are?”
Equality Utah, which had criticized Love for her gay-baiting campaign tactics as she tried to appeal to conservative Republican voters in the 4th District’s three remaining exurban counties, celebrated McAdams’ win in a tweet issued last week.
“Congratulations to @BenMcAdams,” the organization tweeted. “Thank you for years of unwavering support for LGBTQ Utahns. We are excited to see your success in Washington D.C.”
— Equality Utah (@EqualityUtah) November 20, 2018