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Mia Love concedes tight race to Jim Matheson

November 07, 2012|By Danielle Ryan
  • Republican congressional candidate Mia Love concedes to Utah congressional incumbent Jim Matheson in Salt Lake City.
Republican congressional candidate Mia Love concedes to Utah congressional… (Chris Detrick / Associated…)

WASHINGTON - Rep. Jim Matheson has won a seventh term in Congress, defeating Republican challenger Mia Love.

Love, a small-town conservative Utah mayor and a Mormom, was one of the GOP’s top priorities in the run up to Nov. 6.

Matheson, the son of the late Scott M. Matheson – one of Utah’s most popular Governors – remains the only Democrat representing Utah in Washington.

Matheson and Love ran in a newly drawn district, which is thought to be conservative, but perhaps not as conservative as Matheson's old district.

PHOTOS: America goes to the polls

With 100% of precincts reporting, 49.3% of the vote went to Matheson and 48.1% went to Love. Libertarian candidate Jim L. Vein took 2.6% of the vote, possibly contributing to Love's loss.

Love, 36, attracted national attention when she landed a primetime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in August.

Sen. John McCain, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ann Romney all helped with Love’s fundraising efforts.

Matheson raised more than $2 million for his campaign; Love raised just under $2 million. Millions more were poured into the district from outside groups like PACs, Super PACs and the national party committees, making it one of Utah's most expensive House races ever.

During the campaign, Love focused on fiscal and personal responsibility and sought to paint Matheson as part of the spending problem in Washington. Matheson touted himself as a fiscally conservative Democrat, citing his vote against health care reform.

ANALYSIS: The Times breaks down Election Day

Love conceded to Matheson Tuesday night, although the race has not yet been officially called for Matheson.

If she had won last night, Love would have become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.

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danielle.ryan@latimes.com

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