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U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan visiting Utah to ski with donors, raise money for Mia Love

Published: Friday, Feb. 26 2016 12:15 p.m. MST

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. tells reporters that Republicans are taking legal steps to stop President Barack Obama from closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ryan said Obama’s plan flouts a longstanding ban annually passed by Congress that blocks the president from transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, set to headline a fundraiser for Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, in Salt Lake City on Monday, will also be skiing at Deer Valley with donors willing to pay $25,000 to his own political action committee.

The hefty contribution to the Wisconsin Republican's PAC gets donors time on the slopes with both Ryan and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday, plus dinner at Romney's Deer Valley home, the Deseret News has learned.

Ryan, the 2012 GOP's presidential nominee's running mate, is expected to raise some $250,000, largely from out-of-state donors, according to a source. The funds will be distributed by Ryan's leadership PAC to GOP congressional candidates.

Four years ago, Ryan helped Love raise money for her unsuccessful bid to unseat then-Rep. Jim Matheson, the last Utah Democrat to serve in Congress, at a Park City fundraiser.

This year, Love faces another challenge from Democrat Doug Owens for her 4th District seat. Owens, who actually outraised Love in the last quarter of 2015, is getting help now from national Democrats.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently chose Owens as one of 16 national contenders to participate in its Red to Blue program that supports "the best candidates who are ready to win across the country."

Ryan's fundraiser for Love is a $10,000-per-table breakfast at the Little America Hotel. The speaker is expected to leave Utah midmorning Monday and return to Washington, D.C.

Love's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said the Ryan fundraiser "has been in the works for quite some time" and was not planned in response to the attention Owens' campaign is getting from national Democrats.

"We're very excited to have him here. It's a great honor for the congresswoman to have the speaker of the House come by and show his support for her," Hansen said. Ryan is Love's official mentor in Congress and they meet regularly.

Hansen also said Ryan's appearance does not signal the start of a series of high-profile Republicans coming to Utah to campaign for Love, as happened in 2012. After losing that race, Love focused on emphasizing local support in 2014.

"One does not mean a trend," Hansen said.

Despite the attention she's received as the first black Republican woman in Congress, Love has said she's tried to be seen as a hard worker, not a "show pony," in her freshman year.

Having Ryan headline a fundraiser, Hansen said, means "she is doing the job she’s supposed to be doing, the job people expected her to do, and the speaker wants to assure she returns in 2016."

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsPolitics

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