SALT LAKE CITY — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting an additional 11 races nationwide in 2018, including Utah's 4th District seat held by Republican Rep. Mia Love.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, a Democrat, recently announced he's running for the seat held by Love. She won the then-open seat in 2014, after former Rep. Jim Matheson, the last Democrat to represent Utah in Congress, retired.
The new additions to Democrats' "offensive battlefield" were made after big wins for Democratic candidates in the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races, the party's first major wins since President Donald Trump took office.
"The DCCC has successfully built the largest battlefield in over a decade, with strong campaigns ready to win tough races across the map in 2018,” according to a memo from the committee's chairman, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M.
The memo points out that Trump remains unpopular in many of the now 91 districts on the party's list, especially Utah's 4th District. There, only 47 percent of voters approve the president's job performance, according to a chart in the memo.
Trump, the memo states, "will continue to be a factor in the 2018 elections."
Utah's 4th District is labeled "likely Republican" by the Cook Political Report, which means while the race is not considered competitive at this point, it is seen as having "the potential to become engaged."
The national nonpartisan report called McAdams' entry into the race "a major coup for Democrats" and said Love "still hasn't put this overwhelmingly GOP seat away. And Trump's unpopularity in Utah could keep Democrats in the game."
Trump won Utah in the 2016 presidential race by his lowest margin of victory nationwide, even though the state has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964.
Joining Love on the list of new battlefield districts designated by the Democrats is U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also helped Love's opponent in 2016, Doug Owens.28 comments on this story
Love's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said in a statement that the committee and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi don't care about the people in the 4th District.
"Their sights are set on another hand-picked candidate to tip the scales for gridlock in Washington. This move is simply a means to an end for the DCCC under the leadership of the increasingly liberal Nancy Pelosi," Hansen said.
McAdams said he's hearing "encouragement from Utahns who want to see progress in Washington on issues affecting us in our state. It fuels my desire to be that person, working hard for them as I have during my time as mayor."