SALT LAKE CITY — The first TV commercial for Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, in the 4th Congressional District race features Josh Holt, a Riverton man imprisoned by the Venezuelan government for nearly two years, and his mother, Laurie.
"I didn't know if he was safe. I didn't know if he was alive," Laurie Holt says in the 60-second spot set to begin airing Sunday, praising Love for helping to secure her son's release in May.
"Mia Love said, 'I will not let you down and I am here with you as a mother.' It was a continual fight, day after day, and she never gave up. She just said, 'I've got your back and I will until we get him home,'" Laurie Holt says, before tearing up.
"Mia is definitely one that gets results. You could not pick a better person than Mia Love to be your congresswoman," she says. Josh Holt adds, "There's nothing I could ever do to thank her for all she's done for me."
Love's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said the commercial offers voters "a very powerful message" about her involvement in the U.S. effort to free Holt and his wife, Thamy.
The couple were jailed in Venezuela shortly after their wedding in what the U.S. government called false charges.
"The heart of this thing is the fact that Mia gets results. She does pay attention to her constituents. She works for them," Hansen said. "This ad brings out those messages."
He said the Holt family wanted to make the commercial and will continue to support her candidacy.
The commercial comes after Love's Democratic opponent, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, began airing a 30-second spot showcasing his young family and briefly highlighting his accomplishments in the county.
The race between Love and McAdams has been rated a toss-up by RealClear Politics and past polls have shown it is too close to call. Love, first elected in 2014, is seeking a third term.
McAdams' campaign manager, Andrew Roberts, said he had not seen the new Love commercial and had no comment.
"We're happy with the start we've gotten and look forward to continuing to share the mayor's message about putting the people of Utah over politics and working to find bipartisan solutions to our nation's biggest problems," Roberts said.