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Lehi • With Mitt Romney's help, Mia Love's congressional campaign raised about $100,000 on Wednesday, and that was before the former presidential candidate led a rally of roughly 700 people that the campaign recorded to make into a TV commercial.
Those two events at Thanksgiving Point mark the first time a national level politician has appeared in this campaign for Utah's 4th District, a sharp contrast from Love's first run in 2012 when a series of prominent Republicans came to support her, from Sen. John McCain to House Speaker John Boehner. She narrowly lost to Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, who has decided against seeking an eighth term.
This time around, Love, the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, is the front-runner in her race against Democrat Doug Owens.
"I'm glad to be supporting Mia Love again and we are going to win this time," said Romney, wearing a blue blazer and a white dress shirt with no tie. "I'm convinced she's not going to be just a congresswoman, she's going to be a great congresswoman."
Standing next to Romney was Love, Gov. Gary Herbert, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Josh Romney, the son of Mitt Romney. The stage also included state lawmakers, county commissioners and mayors who have endorsed the Republican.
Love thanked her supporters, giving special kudos to Herbert, who came onstage ready to rev up the crowd with an abundance of enthusiasm. He declared Utah the happiest state in the union and he said that's because Utah is going to elect Love in November. It was so out of character that Romney remarked on it as well.
"I heard Gary Herbert shouting. What got into this man," he said.
Romney, who recently moved to Utah, endorsed Love in 2012 and recorded a supportive message that the Love campaign used in a TV ad. He bolstered that relationship by inviting Love to appear at his annual political conference in Deer Valley earlier this year.
On Wednesday, Romney and Love headlined a 140-person dinner at the Thanksgiving Point museum, where tickets went for $250 and donors who gave $5,000 took part in a 15-person roundtable discussion. In that session, a relaxed Romney even shot Love and Chaffetz a question about immigration reform, asking what they are going to do to get it passed in Congress.
Love and Owens, a corporate defense attorney and the son of the late Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, will meet for a debate next Tuesday at KUED. The debate, organized by the Utah Debate Commission, will be carried live on most Utah television stations and will be streamed on sltrib.com