Congressional candidate and Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love caught some attention on Wednesday for disagreeing with conservative tactics that led to the recent government shutdown and for reportedly steering clear of embracing the tea party label during an appearance at Salt Lake Community College. Further, an article published by Deseret News seemingly suggests that she is "rejecting" a tea party label.
Love, a Republican, appeared at a fundraiser luncheon and a subsequent town hall alongside former Florida Congressman Allen West. The two discussed the Obamacare battle in Congress and the methods used by conservatives to fight President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.
Love contended that "shutting down government did not stop Obamacare" and she said she would have chosen a different route than the one championed by Sen. Like Lee (R-Utah) and other conservative members of Congress, Deseret News reported.
"What (Lee) was trying to do, I understand," she said. "I'm not going to bash Mike Lee for trying to keep his promises. I think I would have taken a different approach."
The Salt Lake Tribune said that Love wouldn't answer questions about whether she would have voted for the budget bill that inevitably ended the shutdown, calling it a hypothetical.
"I support trying to defund [it]. I support trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act," she told the audience. "The problem with the way everything went is shutting down the government didn’t touch the Affordable Care Act."
As for those trying to foist labels upon her, Love told Deseret News in an interview that she isn't all that interested in being "put in a box."
Republican congressional candidate Mia Love (Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
"I consider myself a Republican in the state of Utah who represents everyone," she said. "People try to put labels on you, and I don't believe in labels."
Deseret News reported that Love said she didn't "even know what to say" when she was asked if she was trying to distance herself from the tea party, although the context of this remark is unclear. While the outlet's headline claims Love "rejects a tea party label," full quotations corroborating this are not given.
Love provided the following statement to TheBlaze on Thursday addressing the "confusion over" the "poorly-written article" in the Deseret News:
There's been some confusion over a poorly-written article by Lisa Riley Roche of the Deseret News, so let me make clear my position. My vote over the shutdown would have been the same as that of Utah's other GOP House members – Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, and Chris Stewart. I would have voted against funding Obamacare and voted to keep open the rest of the government. I would not have voted, as Jim Matheson did, to continue the reckless rate of spending that President Obama and Harry Reid have insisted on. I believe it's wrong for us to kick the can down the road by shackling our children and grandchildren with our debt.
Unfortunately, a false narrative exists out there that I disagree with Senator Mike Lee’s goals and commitment. Here's the truth: Aside from state legislators, I was the only elected leader who stood with Senator Lee at his rally earlier this month. Senator Lee's devotion to limited government, fiscal discipline, and personal responsibility is a goal I share, and I'm proud to have stood with approximately 2,000 fellow Utahns on a cold, November morning to applaud his commitment to defunding Obamacare and putting Utah first.
Claims that she is trying to distance herself from the tea party "label" were not fully addressed, but we are attempting to get further clarification.
In an appearance earlier in the day on KSL Radio's "The Doug Wright Show," Love said that she is open to hearing from people of all partisan stripes as she prepares for a battle for the 4th congressional district next year.
"It's really important that people know I'm here to listen to everybody's voice -- from Democrat to Republican and everything in between, because what's happening in Washington right now is absolutely -- it's a disgrace," said Love, who will face Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) if she gets the Republican nomination.
(H/T: Deseret News)
This story has been updated.