Mia Love — Republican superstar

Mia Love is a superstar. She’s simply contagious and looks great on the camera. She has the potential to seriously contribute to changing the face of the Republican Party.

CNN, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, NBC News, ABC News and Yahoo News — some of the largest news outlets in the nation have profiled congressional candidate Mayor Mia Love without including  a single comment from her Democratic opponent Jim Matheson.

Matheson’s only apparent remarkable characteristic in this race is that he’s surviving. He’s running on a conservative background and it’s only slightly noteworthy that a Democrat has been elected in Utah; and local and national news outlets don’t seem to want to hear from him. He’s just not as camera-friendly as Love.

Love is a small-town Utah mayor in an interracial marriage. She touts her conservative credentials like Derek Jeter would spout his batting averages. And there’s no one in Utah politics that can rile a crowd quite like her. She’s got style, she’s got class — but she’s missing character.

Each interview she holds is pitch-perfect. When Fox News anchors throw her softballs about race in the Republican Party, you’d think she wrote the book on how to navigate race relations in the GOP. When papers ask about her hardworking Haitian parents, she’s got all the right answers to appeal to hard-line conservatives, with just a touch of finesse highlighting her own heart-warming family history and the true American dream.

She has the right answer for everyone — except when she doesn’t.

My first conversation with Love over a Facebook chat was quite congenial. I congratulated her on a rousing speech at the Republican convention and her recent nomination. She graciously thanked me and agreed to meet with me so we could profile the race in QSaltLake.

She asked me to send her some questions for her to review. None of the questions were sexually explicit and all of them were extremely respectful. Much to my dismay, shortly after sending the questions I received a phone call from a campaign staffer telling me Love did not wish to be associated with our magazine. It had nothing to do with the fact that QSaltLake caters to gays and lesbians, he said. Love was worried that Matheson would somehow use her answers to associate her with gays and lesbians.

Despite repeated assurances that Matheson was also being interviewed, the team very rudely declined any comment and referred me to two other campaign staffers who later stopped returning phone calls.

Asking around the community, I heard the same story over and over — she was friendly and cordial, but when it came time to sit down and talk shop, Love was nowhere to be found.

She’s not running for mayor of Saratoga Springs any longer. Her new district, which includes large portions of Salt Lake County, is full of queer people and allies. It’s time she answer the tough questions: How can she oppose marriage equality while being in a relationship that would have been outlawed not long ago? How can she oppose more reasonable immigration reform so others, much like her parents and incidentally herself, can benefit from the same American dream? How can she oppose nondiscrimination legislation for queers while she benefits from similar bills protecting her against bias based on her race, religion and gender?

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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