SALT LAKE CITY — Nineteen mayors in Utah's 4th Congressional District have endorsed Republican Rep. Mia Love in her re-election bid against Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.
Love, who served as mayor of Saratoga Springs before being elected to Congress in 2014, said in a statement she is "grateful for the support and confidence" of the mayors in the district that includes portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties.
"Their expression of my understanding of local issues and my record of working with them and listening to the people in our communities is what I have strived to achieve as their member of Congress," she said.
McAdams also has support from mayors but isn't ready to roll out their names, his campaign manager, Andrew Roberts, said. The office of mayor is nonpartisan, but the 4th District includes portions of Utah County and other conservative areas.
"I don't think anybody in Utah is going to be surprised to see that a group of Republican mayors are supporting the Republican in this race," Roberts said of Love's endorsements.
Mayors from West Jordan, Taylorsville, Riverton, Herriman, Nephi, Payson, Levan, Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, Lehi, Santaquin, Mona, Fountain Green, Spring City, Genola, Spanish Fork, Midvale and Bluffdale are on Love's list of supporters.
Dave Alvord, a former mayor of South Jordan, is also endorsing the congresswoman, her campaign said.
"Mia Love remembers the needs of our fast-growing communities," Eagle Mountain Mayor Tom Westmoreland said in a statement, praising her efforts to help bring a Facebook data center to the Utah County city.
Westmoreland said Love "understood the signficant economic impact it would make and quickly engaged in the process. I am very happy knowing we can count on her in such critical times."
Santaquin Mayor Kirk Hunsaker said Love is an asset to both rural and urban communities. He said in a statement he appreciates "her grass-roots perspective as a former local mayor, she knows what its like in the trenches."
Chris Karpowitz, co-director of BYU's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said Love "can draw on those local connections" she made as a former mayor of a conservative Utah County community.
"I do think having endorsements from local elected leaders is one way that Mia Love can offset some of the advantages that Ben McAdams has when it comes to executive leadership" as a county mayor, Karpowitz said.
The announcement of the endorsements comes as RealClear Politics, a political news and polling aggregator website, ranked Utah's 4th Congressional District race a toss-up.
The website cites polling showing a race that's too close to call, including a UtahPolicy.com poll in June that showed Love ahead of McAdams 47 percent to 43 percent, a lead within the margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
Karpowitz said it might be too soon to see the race as that close.
"The actual evidence on the ground that it is a toss-up is still sparse, it seems to me," the political science professor said. "It's very early. We're in the dog days of summer and most voters are not yet paying close attention to this race."