SALT LAKE CITY — A Democratic group launched a digital ad campaign and website this week criticizing Rep. Mia Love for not holding town hall meetings.
But the Utah Republican said Thursday she reaches out to constituents in a variety of ways, including going to businesses, hosting small groups in her office and online town halls.
"There’s a place for everything. The whole idea is to give as many people as many options as possible," Love said." "I'm not going to let political groups stop me from making sure I get out and do my job."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unveiled LoveTownHallWatch.com and is linking online ads to Google searches this week as part of an effort to show that many Republicans refuse to meet with large groups in unscreened, in-person meetings.
Love is among 25 GOP members of Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the committee is targeting.
“If Washington Republicans like Mia Love are heartless enough to rip away health care from their constituents but too scared to face them at public town halls, they don’t deserve to be in Congress,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Drew Godinich said in a statement. “This campaign highlights the work of grass-roots volunteers in Utah to hold their congresswoman accountable for her votes and lack of transparency.”
The website includes a count-up clock showing that Love hasn't held a town hall in 628 days as of Thursday, making her time since hosting such a forum among the longest, according to the committee.
"Mia Love clearly isn't spending her time in Utah's 4th District listening to her constituents. So what has she been up to?" the website says.
Love said the definition of town hall is an event where elected officials can take questions from the public. She said she has held more town hall meetings this year than in the past two years.
"I think that Utah sees through all of these political tactics. The DCCC is doing exactly that. I mean they have an entire playbook out there, and if you look at the town halls throughout the country, they've been the exact same things: Members can't answer questions, people yelling, getting to the point where there's violence," she said on KSL Newsradio's "The Doug Wright Show."
Former Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans advised the state's all-GOP congressional delegation to avoid town halls, citing intimidation and violence at those gatherings that he attributed to Democrats and left-leaning groups.
Love said she wants to do everything she can to create a safe environment to have a civil dialogue with constituents. She said she likes people who disagree with her coming because she learns things.
"I cannot really raise Utah’s voice if I can’t hear above the clutter and the anger," she said.