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May 1st, 2012
02:41 PM ET

House candidate and rising GOP star is black, female - and Mormon

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - To call Mia Love a minority is an understatement. She’s a black woman who won an upset primary race to become the Republican candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. If elected, she’d be the first black Republican congresswoman in the House of Representatives.

Love, who has attracted lots of national Republican support, also stands out because of her religion: She’s a Mormon. The politician is a poster child for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ campaign to present a more diverse face to a historically very white church.

“There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person,” Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, told CNN’s Kyra Phillips in an interview Tuesday. “I’m not a victim, and I don’t allow anybody to put me in a box.”

Speaking from Salt Lake City, she said, “There may be some challenges. But ... I love this place and love the people that are here, and I represent their beliefs and values.”

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Love is featured in a video series produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of its “I’m a Mormon” campaign, which aims to bring the faith of about 14 million members worldwide into the mainstream.

In the CNN interview, Love talked about how Mormonism would affect Mitt Romney’s candidacy more than her own, which is happening in the most Mormon state in the nation.

“You know I don’t think those are the issues that Americans really care about,” Love said when asked about the role of Romney’s religion in the presidential campaign. “I think Americans care about jobs, the economy; they care about the debt and deficit spending. … Being a Mormon is part of who he is as a person, and I don’t think it should deter from the issues.”

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Love’s “I’m a Mormon” video shows her working as the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, her current job.

“I am the mayor of Saratoga Springs and I love it,” she says in the video. “I get to make this life better for me and better for others.

“My friends from back home are always saying, ‘What are you doing in Utah?'” she says in the video, referring to her East Coast upbringing. “What they don’t know is that when I came here I felt accepted.”

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism • Politics • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (2,038 Responses)
  1. The Poster

    This woman has a video on youtube. She's being used in an advertisement for LDS. Its amazing reading all the comments about her from people who cite knee jerk reactions both racist and over defending. Being anonymous on the internet loves to bring out the ugly.

    Of course she is being highlighted because her scenario is so rare, and minority in the group she associates. That's neither good or bad. It's just what it is. She's running for office, she should be ready for it.

    She was not raised in her traditional culture, as her video highlights. She's living her life admiring the people who helped her get 'better'. I can respect that, but I don't agree with what she says or claims to stand for. She has different beliefs from me. Okay. I can move on. Sorry my reply isn't inflammatory or racist, even though I'm black.

    It's funny how people say, "Blacks will vote for X because they are black." Well, we have had centuries of white men and recently women who are white being voted for and by white people as a whole and I don't ever recall the stigma in previous century of US elections, "I'll vote for him because they are white!" "The other person is too. They all have been for 80+ years." "Well, I'll still vote for the because they are white!" That does not happen, but it's applied to nearly every person of color whether they mean it as a deterrent, or a lure.

    Conservatives need to get over the myopic idea that all minorities are mass minded when it comes to a point they don't agree with. It's so tired. I have Republicans and Democrats in my family, just like I'm sure you do.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • petej

      "Conservatives need to get over the myopic idea that all minorities are mass minded when it comes to a point they don't agree with. It's so tired. "

      ummm.....Conservatives dont hold a monopoly on that thinking.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  2. MJP

    "She is not tied to the Democratic party because her family is from Haiti and she came here without having to fight a civil rights movement."

    I think you need to go back tot he history books. Slavery was abolished by a Republican.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • qwerty

      Lincoln wouldn't recognize the current parties as either democratic or republican

      May 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  3. Trish

    Next up: Female catholic priests.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • bcf14

      The left will go after this poor woman without mercy if she has any ambition to enter into national politics. In a sense she's lucky that her Mormonism gives them an easy target; otherwise, left to their own devices, the things that they would have made up about her would have been sickening. Intelligent, conservative, black females cannot be tolerated by "progressive" ideology...

      May 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  4. qwerty

    Rising star?

    Religious conservatives can barely choke down Romney and he's a rich white male, she doesn't stand much of a chance aside from being a token black woman outside mormon-ville.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      I think you are right She Will get the same awakening as Collin

      May 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • You are a Simpleton

      hate to break the news to you but conservatives aren't racist. I know it's fun to criticize your opponents with absurdities though because it strengthens your weak argument.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      You are a Simpleton, I don't think they are "all" racist, I think that they are mostly Religious Fanatics, and yes I think that is as bad if not worse.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Ollie

      Hey bonehead the train to change is here get on board or zip up.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  5. petej

    Anyone who is a republican is racist and promotes the war on wom....oh wait. A black female republican you say?

    May 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  6. Woman

    She is not tied to the Democratic party because her family is from Haiti and she came here without having to fight a civil rights movement.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  7. MJP

    Nice to see that she is happy and comfortable in her own skin! Sad for most of you that posted messages thus far.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Nicole

      Agreed MJP! Nice to see another POSITIVE comment in this storm of negativity on the feed

      May 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  8. MJP

    Nice to see that she is happy and comfortable in her own skin! Said for most of you that posted messages thus far.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  9. Hmmmm

    The animal described above does not exsist. Black female, republican, morman. Ha! And democrats have nothing to fear from this, even if it were true.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  10. Nicole

    How sad to scroll down and see so many negative comments focused on the Mormon religion rather than the accomplishments of this woman. While I am not Republican I appreciate the journey this woman has been on and fully applaud her efforts. Good for you Mia! I pity those who are ignorant and close minded enough to ignore the positives within this story, let alone go on a tangent and write a negative rants 😦

    May 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  11. Alex

    The Mormons are here. May God help us.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • just sayin

      Praying is evidence of psychosis ://////

      May 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • TownC

      He's trying!

      May 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Ollie

      All religions are already here. Weak up

      May 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  12. Yesorno

    Honey know how to get paid. Hell I may try the same thing.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  13. Hojo

    Wow, this is terrible. That's literally one of the most racist things I've ever seen and I didn't even read the article.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  14. Jen B

    I find it unique that she's running for office, but beyond that, for the love of god people, stop thinking like all black people walk, talk, eat, and believe the same things! Particularly as it is portrayed on tv.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  15. lynn

    Opportunist

    May 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Harbart

      very

      May 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  16. LikeHorseMeatBetter

    HaHa!!! Democrats worse nightmare!! Their chickens (of lies) are coming home to roost!!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • hokiethug

      Lies? How about when the Mormon church magically had a revelation from god to allow blacks into church in the first place? I'm sorry, but if you're black AND female, you're an idiot to even consider joining this cult.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • nairb247

      @hokiethug – you are misinformed. Blacks have always been able to be members of the church. One of the very first members was baptized back in the 1830's. (Elijah Abel – look him up)

      The LDS Church was one of the biggest proponents of civil liberties and Joseph Smith actually used to purchase slaves only to immediately set them free.

      Blacks have not been able to hold the priesthood in the church (which is another topic) until 1978.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  17. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    This is perfect. I can't think of a better candidate to represent the bizarre inconsistency that is modern conservatism.

    Conservatives talk till the cows come home about freedom, then happily vote to restrict abortion rights, restrict collective bargaining rights, restrict voting rights, restrict the 1st amendment rights of people protesting Wall Street crooks, restrict marriage rights for gays, and in Michigan, Republicans have actually restricted the right of local citizens to elect the officials that run their city government.

    Yeah, liberty!

    So, it's perfect that a black woman associates herself with both the GOP, and the Church of Latter Day Saints, two organizations that have recently lead the charge to oppress blacks and women. Poetic.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Rob

      what right do the children inside the mother have?

      FACT: 4 out of 5 women who see an ultrasound of their child elect NOT to have an abortion. That is a FACT, NOT hyperbole. If you're all for "freedom of choice" and "knowledge" then why not STAND TOGETHER to ensure females get the knowledge by allowing them to see their ultrasounds at abortion clinics (ie, planned parenthood)?

      what are you afraid of???????

      May 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • LikeHorseMeatBetter

      then happily vote to restrict abortion rights, restrict collective bargaining rights, restrict voting rights, restrict the 1st amendment rights of people protesting Wall Street crooks, restrict marriage rights for gays, and in Michigan,
      ---------
      restrict collective bargining? what about individual rights? Ever heard of right to work? If I do not want to join a thug union I should have that right not be force into it. Abortion, u all are loosing that one. What about respect for life? Re-districting is a practice by both parties. The Wall Street crooks gave to Obama more than anyone. Tell me, how come the stock market is doing so well after Obama pass legislation to restrict them. Or was that wink-nod to his WS buddies.
      HA you r such a tool! Oh and gay rights, Republicans have the same belief as Obama. Marriage should be bet. one man& woman.
      LOL!!!

      May 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Marinna D.

      "FACT: 4 out of 5 women who see an ultrasound of their child elect NOT to have an abortion. That is a FACT, NOT hyperbole. If you're all for "freedom of choice" and "knowledge" then why not STAND TOGETHER to ensure females get the knowledge by allowing them to see their ultrasounds at abortion clinics (ie, planned parenthood)? "

      The issue isn't that "females" are "allowed" to see ultrasounds; it's that they were forced to. If a woman ASKS to see an ultrasound first, then by all means provide one, heck you can even SUGGEST/OFFER it to her, but requiring that she see one is stepping over the line. If she says "no" then that's it.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • abudum

      Get a life Rob. When you can have a baby then you can tell women what to do.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  18. Rob

    so she's a female, she's black, and she's a conservative...

    and the countdown to when the Dems set out to DESTROY her character & call her a sellout begins in... 3...2...

    May 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      Are we supposed to ignore her selling out because you know how to count backwards?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Harbart

      She might even be secretly gay. So many other Republicans are it's like a secret clubhouse thing for them.
      And has she ever had an abortion or used contraceptives? Has she ever voted against poor people? Probably.
      You ask, I delivar.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Derek

      Naw...we'll just wait until she says something stupid. Then, like a wounded gazelle, we Democrats will attack!

      Because, as you know, only Democrats resort to character attacks.

      (HINT: we aren't)

      May 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  19. sweetkimberly

    Romney must be paying her big bucks to win the black vote.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  20. Lynn

    I'm surprised they are allowing her to take a photo op with braids...the GOP is desperate.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Marie

      Petty talk doesn't make for a pretty soul. Obviously someone someone doesn't even need a mirror to show how ugly a person they are with those comments.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.