SALT LAKE CITY — National Republicans are already "heavily recruiting" candidates to run next year against the only Democrat in Utah's congressional delegation, Rep. Ben McAdams, but he may face a rematch against Mia Love.
McAdams won the 4th Congressional District seat in 2018 by beating Love, the two-term GOP incumbent, by less than 700 votes in a district that ranks among the top 100 most Republican in the nation.
Love, now a CNN commentator, told the Deseret News Thursday she hasn't ruled out another run.
"I haven't completely taken it off the table yet," she said. "I've been talking to Tom Emmer, my former colleague and friend on the (House) Financial Services Committee."
Emmer, a GOP House member from Minnesota, is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has made the 2020 Utah congressional race a top priority and is recruiting candidates.
Love said she's been asked by the campaign committee "several times and Friday was asked again if I was going to run. But I've been very selfish with the time I've had with my family."
She said that "jumping in this race would mean I didn't have the confidence that another Republican could win. There are some good names floating out there." But Love said it's "a tough district. Either way, I'm going to help."
What would motivate her to run, she said, is McAdams. Love called him a "wolf in sheep's clothing" in her concession speech, delivered after it took weeks to determine the final results.
"I'm really enjoying my work at CNN," she said. "I feel like I'm speaking to an audience that is desperate for a reasonable, conservative, Republican voice, but I'm still very disturbed by the dishonesty and poor representation of the current representative."
Asked to respond to Love's comments, Andrew Roberts, McAdams' campaign manager, said, "Ben is focused on representing Utah's 4th District, not the 2020 political campaign."
Love said most political announcements won't get made until closer to the end of the year, so she has some time to decide.
"It's still really early. Again, I'm being super selfish. I'm really happy right now. It would take a lot to convince me," she said, shortly before going on the air from New York City. "Honestly, this current life is really nice."
There has been talk about how tough McAdams' re-election would be since he won.
On Thursday, the House Republican campaign committee confirmed they're looking for a candidate to challenge him.
“We’re heavily recruiting in Utah’s 4th District to ensure socialist Democrat Ben McAdams’ first term in Congress is also his last. This district is one of our top pickup opportunities," NRCC spokeswoman Torunn Sinclair said in a statement.
Roberts said Utahns like what McAdams, a former Salt Lake County mayor, is doing in Washington, including introducing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"Ben was sworn into office only a few short months ago and D.C. party bosses are already trying to hand-pick his replacement," he said. "He's putting everyday Utahns ahead of party and delivering on the campaign promises that got him elected."
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton is among the potential candidates the national campaign committee has reached out to, but her interest is in another race.
"The NRCC has approached me, but right now I'm exploring a run for governor," Newton said. "My priority has always been improving the quality of life and opportunities for the people in my community and state in a direct way."
Republicans in Utah have mentioned state Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, and state Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, as possible candidates in the district that includes portions of Utah and Salt Lake counties.
McCay said he's "grateful for the persistent encouragement to run for Congress from people throughout Utah. Of the 2 million eligible candidates in Utah, I'm one. Good luck to everyone trying to decide if they should run, too."
Love lost her first bid to the last Democrat to represent Utah in Congress, Jim Matheson, in 2012. After Matheson retired two years later, Love won the seat and was re-elected in 2016.40 comments on this story
Her race against McAdams drew national attention and she was among a handful of losing Republicans in the midterm elections singled out publicly by President Donald Trump for not embracing his offer of campaign help.
In her concession speech, Love said she didn't know whether she would run again, but added, "the good news is, I'm not going away," and promised to continue to speak out on conservative issues.
When she made her cable news debut in January, Love said she'd "taken nothing off the table" by signing a two-year deal with the network because "it leaves me open to leave that and go do something else."