By NAN Political Editor
News Americas, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, Weds. Nov. 5, 2014: Decades old racial and gender barriers toppled last night following a closely watched U.S. Senate race in one of the whitest states in the country.
A Haitian-American female Republican Conservative from Utah crashed through the racial and glass ceilings and into U.S. history books Tuesday night, becoming not just the first Caribbean American and black person to win a Utah congressional seat but the first black and Caribbean American Republican to win a congressional seat and the first black and Caribbean American woman ever to become a U.S. Senator.
Mia Love, a 38-year-old mother and former small city mayor who gained national attention in 2012 when she tried to unseat Congressman James David “Jim” Matheson and was given a prime speaking spot at the Republican National Convention, beat out Democrat Doug Owens in the Republican-leaning 4th Congressional District of Utah.
Love, an Ultra Conservative and Tea Party-ite won by a margin of 50 percent or 64, 390 votes to Owens’ 46 percent or 60165 with 525 precincts reporting, electionresults.utah.gov stated.
Owens tweeted at 11:25 p.m. last night that he had called Love to concede the race.
During her victory speech, Love said “there is great cause for confidence” as she and Utahns run together.
The non-typical Caribbean-American politician has vowed to take on “the Godzilla that we call the federal government” and said that if elected, she would try to dismantle the Congressional Black Caucus. She is sure to become one of the poster stars for the largely non-minority GOP Party going into 2016.
In addition to the millions she raised on her own, outside groups poured in about $155,000 into the race for Love’s benefit.
Her win means it is now the first time in 14 years that Utah would be without a Democrat in its congressional delegation.
It’s left to seen now, how Love’s ultra conservative agenda will play out. She has advocated for reducing federal aid to students and allowing loan rates to be set by the free market; for a repeal of ‘Obama Care,’ a lowering of all taxes, reduced dependence on foreign oil and border security and “meaningful immigration reform and rules of naturalization that result in clear, straightforward, fair, and thorough rules that will allow immigrants to participate in the American Dream while protecting the best interests of American citizens.”
Will she be a Tea Party hardliner and cull together with Ted Cruz in the Senate or be ready to work across Party lines like new Senate leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky? That’s left to be seen come January.
With Republicans recapturing total control of Congress again on Tuesday and taking control of the Senate back from Democrats for the first time in eight years, it is unclear whether the GOP hardliners will continue down the same path as their colleagues have been doing in the House or work across Party lines.
Exit polls Tuesday showed that 54 percent of voters disapprove of President Obama’s performance, and 79 percent gave the thumbs down to the entire Congress. Only one in three voters in exit polls said the country was on the right track, and one in five said the government in Washington could never be trusted to do what’s right. Two-thirds said the economic system is unfair.
Love was born Ludmya Bourdeau to Catholic Haitian parents in Brooklyn, NY who had immigrated from Haiti in 1973
Her father had been threatened by the Tonton Macoute, the secret police of the late ‘Papa Doc’ and ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier in Haiti, and came to the United States on a tourist visa. Her father has stated that their daughter’s birth as a US citizen was key to gaining permanent legal status and citizenship.
After the family moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, her parents brought her older siblings from Haiti.
Love attended Norwalk High School. In 1998 after graduating from the University of Hartford with a degree in the performing arts, she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She had been a Roman Catholic until that point.
As part of her job as a flight attendant she moved to Utah to be closer to the temple and to learn more about her faith.
Upon moving to Utah she got an apartment with a Utah woman she had known as a nanny in Connecticut. Mia contacted Craig Smith, a missionary she had known in Connecticut for help moving in. Smith referred her to Jason Love, whom she had met briefly when he was an LDS missionary in Connecticut.
He helped her move in and they went on their first date (to a shooting range) in September. The couple was married in December, 1998. They have three children.
Love won a seat on the Saratoga Springs City Council in 2003, becoming the first female Haitian-American elected official in Utah County, Utah; she took office in January 2004. After six years on the Council she was elected Mayor, winning with 861 votes to 594 for her opponent Jeff Francom.