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Mia Love labeled 'surefire winner' by Roll Call blogger

Published: Wednesday, July 9 2014 2:12 p.m. MDT

Republican Mia Love speaks during a debate with Democrat Doug Owen during the 36th Annual Utah Taxes Now Conference in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Love said Wednesday she's flattered at being labeled a "surefire winner" by a Washington blogger, but she's taking nothing for granted in her race against Democrat Doug Owens.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Republican congressional candidate Mia Love said Wednesday she's flattered at being labeled a "surefire winner" by a Washington blogger, but she's taking nothing for granted in her race against Democrat Doug Owens.

Roll Call's David Hawkings listed Love as one of 20 candidates for open seats nationwide whom he said became, in effect, de facto members of Congress once they won their political party's nomination.

In his "Hawkings Here" blog post Tuesday, the longtime Washington journalist said Love, a former Saratoga Springs mayor, is "expected easily to win" the seat she lost in 2012 to retiring Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, by less than 800 votes.

Hawkings predicted that Love, who would be the first black female Republican to serve in Congress, "will be an exception to the notion that people who ease into Congress get less press attention."

He noted the national spotlight on Love in her 2012 run, including a prime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, where Mitt Romney formally became the GOP nominee for president.

Love told KSL NewsRadio's Doug Wright Wednesday that she's still working hard to win over voters in Utah's newest congressional district.

"I'm flattered, but I don't take anything for granted," Love said. "It's always nice when somebody says something positive. It's great. But it doesn't change anything."

Owens told Wright that had his "feelings hurt a little bit" by being overlooked in the race, but he said the election will be decided in Utah, not the nation's capital.

"I think that the voters are going to take a hard look at both candidates," said Owens, the son of the late Utah Congressman Wayne Owens, a Democrat. "Utah voters are used to crossing party lines and voting for the person they think is best."

He said Love is a national political celebrity and "certainly outshines me in the matter of physical appearance." But Owens believes voters "are willing to look beneath the surface."

Love said that while she would welcome another opportunity to represent Utah at the 2016 GOP convention, "there's work to be done with the Republican Party and we need to remember we're talking about real people and real lives."

Hawkings said the candidates in 18 House and two Senate races that he deemed anointed share similar circumstances.

"Because of their constituencies' demographics and solidly reliable partisan voting history, securing their party nomination in their districts or states is tantamount to winning the general election," he said.

Love, who will turn 39 shortly before she would take office if elected, would be the youngest Republican in Congress, he said. A Democrat who is also expected to win, Brendan Boyle of Philadelphia, is two years younger.

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsPolitics

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