Mia Love: The Inevitability of the Black, Female, Mormon Republican Congresswoman

Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah Mia Love.

Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah Mia Love speaks during the Republican National Convention on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

My cynical ears thought that GOP star Mia Love’s convention speech was a little cliched, rousing but unmemorable, taking all its best lines from historical figures. But you could say the same for most Barack Obama speeches, and hell, they’ve worked for him. All Love needs to do to get to Congress is defeat Rep. Jim Matheson, who holds the most Republican district not currently held by a Republican – 14 points more Republican than the country at large.*

And she might be pulling it off.

The Saratoga Springs mayor led 51 percent to 36 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Love’s pollster had found Matheson ahead in July with 51 percent, so the new poll indicates a dramatic shift in the race. Previous public polling had also shown Matheson with a signficant lead.

Love would be the first black female Republican in the House, and arguably the most prominent black Mormon in America. How do you run against that? Like this:

In an age of stronger partisan loyalty, it’s increasingly hard for the “I hate my party, really!” message to overcome the “there’s an R behind my name” message.

*The Cook rating is pretty simple. A district that votes the same way as the rest of the country +0. So, if you’re in a district that Barack Obama won by 7 points, you’re in +0-land. If your district voted 50-50 for Obama-McCain, it edges Republican. An R+14 district is Republican landslide territory.