No Love Lost | Buzz Blog

No Love Lost 

Ben McAdams and Mia Love duke it out in their first and only debate before the midterms.

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Mia Love and Ben McAdams criticized each other early and often last Monday  during a debate at the Salt Lake Community College’s Miller campus.


“My biggest disappointment, Rep. Love, is I feel like you’ve changed,” McAdams, the Salt Lake County mayor and Democrat challenging Love for her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said. “You went to Washington, and we had high hopes, and you changed and you became a part of that Washington problem.”


Love, meanwhile, repeatedly pushed back at McAdams’ allegations that her votes had harmed her constituents. “I would actually like to know which votes, actually, the name of the bill and the votes that we voted to repeal student loans or Pell Grants,” the two-term incumbent said at one point. “You can’t point to one vote because, frankly, they haven’t happened. That’s completely misleading and not true.”


McAdams and Love are running to represent Utah’s 4th Congressional District, an area that includes parts of Salt Lake City and its suburbs. President Donald Trump won the district in 2016 with less than 40 percent of votes, making it a battleground Democrats hope to win as they try to take back the House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.


A recent poll lists Love—who is backed by political heavyweight Utah Republicans like Mitt Romney—as tied with McAdams just a few weeks before the election. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed its rating from “Lean Republican” to “Republican Toss Up” between September and October.


Throughout the night, Love rejected McAdams’ repeated statements that she only votes along party lines. “I don’t take my orders from anybody, except for the people of the 4th District,” she said. She defended her record, arguing that she voted in favor of banning abortion after 20 weeks, instituting a balanced budget amendment and giving service members a pay raise.


Love criticized McAdams for the controversial Olympia Hills development, which would have allowed for the construction of 9,000 housing units on about 900 acres. “We heard the outcry from the public, and I did something I’ve never seen Rep. Love do: I held a town hall meeting,” McAdams said, causing a few claps from crowd members. “When I heard their concerns, about transportation, about congestion in the schools, and other needs, I vetoed that proposal. And it was the right thing to do.”


Love, whose lack of in-person town halls has been reported on by multiple local media outlets, responded by saying she has held 85 town halls and public meetings. An audience member made an audible guffaw at Love’s statement.


McAdams said multiple times that Love’s public comments don’t match her voting record. “It’s important to judge people’s actions and outcomes,” he said. “As mayor, I don’t get credit for what I try to do, or what I say I want to do. I’m judged based on what I accomplish, and we need to hold the same standards to our representatives in Congress.”


In her closing statement, Love tried to connect McAdams to recent comments made by Hillary Clinton about it not being possible for Dems to be civil toward the Republican party. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen Mayor McAdams, with the help of D.C. Democrat allies, come after and try to destroy a fellow American in pursuit of political power,” Love said before claiming the Federal Election Commission had resolved the controversy surrounding her allegedly illegal primary election fundraising. “We have to let people know that honesty still means something, integrity still means something, and this country, under God, is still a place where the sun, our hopes for the future and freedom will continue to rise,” she said.


McAdams closed out the night by pledging to represent Utahns, not special issues, and to work with Republicans to address crucial issues facing the district, state and country. “I’ve been frustrated with a Congress where members are too busy attacking each other and not attacking our problems,” he said. “I will take my independent ‘work-across-the-aisle’ approach to Washington, where I’ll put people ahead of party, and do what’s right for Utah.”

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Kelan Lyons

Kelan Lyons

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