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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. max

    My opinion of Mr. Romney? He has a low opinion of those of us capable of figuring out his most recent, blatant and basic campaign tactics. This time involving Mia Love. This will backfire Mitt Romney. Not a good move probably. No to Romney and yes to Obama this coming November.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • brett

      You are absolutely clueless. Total partison viewpoint that will find fault in something wrong with anything having to do with republican party. You max, are a perfect example of everything that is wrong with this country.

      Let it be clear, I am not a republican...or a democrat.

      CNN does a story of a Mormon amongst a Mormon population (I'll bet you all of her rivals were Mormon too) and interviews her...they ask her questions about Mitt Romney, because it is the hot topic of the day...and somehow you think it is Mitt propaganda???

      You are as dumb and blind as the day is long.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  2. mishu

    these responses reek of Mormonism...why?...I don't care about this woman's religious creed...I don't know her, she has never made a statement that affects my life...her color or creed matters not to me. Yes, I am a woman of color...and she matters not to me.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  3. longshot

    a black, and a women, and not a christian in the GOP! stop the presses!!!!!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  4. Sean

    What an amazing woman. And being as her political success is coming in Utah, it would be appear all those "mormon boogeyman" stories (racist, subservient women, etc) seem to be much more about stereotyping than reality...

    May 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • max

      Rubbish.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Kurt

      Thank you Sean. I've lived in Utah all my life. I've never been taught anything racist. We hold our women in high regard (above the men, as a matter of fact). Most of the stuff written about Utah and Mormons is not what my experience has been.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Learn to Fish

      That's because liberals control the message to the masses, who cares if it's the truth, the ends justify the means...

      May 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • brett

      max, please go crawl back in your hole.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  5. Co-Signing

    WOW....

    May 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  6. Mrs U

    I am a Democrat, a Mormon, a member of the ACLU, a Sunday School teacher, and a public school teacher. I raised my daughters to be independent and strong, and they have become so...soldiers. And...I LOVE Mia Love. She stands on the foundation of a belief in the good of people, and in the efficacy of the people's ability to govern themselves. She is brilliant, and if views her video, she describes her parents' firm belief that you give back to your community.

    If you are viewing her religion as a cult, I'm baffled because it's definitely not that. The only subservience you may find is the same kind of subservience you'll find in any other Christian household...to the Saviour. In terms of people of color being mistreated or unaccepted...walk into any LDS church, and you won't find people of color pushed to the background.

    I don't know why or where you get that view, but as I tell my debate students in my middle school, investigate and verify all information for yourself – check it out yourself and come to your OWN conclusion.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Kurt

      Good for you! I'm an active Mormon, a moderate Republican, and happy to hear what you just said.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  7. Paul

    I like this lady. She is not ready to be a vice president yet, but give her a bit of time to learn about how government really works and she will be a real political force.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  8. Mensaman

    The media is so occupied by a persons race, genetics,gender, religion and WHO they are rather than their ability,character, and work ethic. I think they have lost their collective minds.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Kurt

      I agree, and I'm a Mormon. I think it's great that she's an involved citizen in politics. And we need more diversity there. But just because she's black and a Mormon does not mean much. Maybe cnn should have done an article on her, but I don't really think so.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  9. ed

    Wow. This is why I love this country. Who would have thunk it? A black, female, Republican Mormon? Hollywood couldn't have done a better job with a character role.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • indel

      And she will rise, for GOP, the percentage in each of the "mentioned" categories.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  10. Steve Jackson

    And what does Barack Obama know about the so called black experience? He is only half black in which his black father ran away. He was raised entirely by his white mother and his white family. He went to private schools from young through college, a state senator, us senator and us president. His combined income from marriage on has never been under about $300K. So what does the savior of all racial labels know about the trials and tribulations of the so called black experience?

    what does he know that Ms. Love doesn't? Other than how to pander and use half of his race to garner more votes and support by those who vote only for his skin color.

    The world needs more Ms. Love's who don't identify first and foremost with labels. Too many minorities want to play victim. Yes this country has had some issues with race and rights. But no different than any other country throughout history. And we all have news for your slavery ended 150 years ago, no one alive was a slave or related to one for at least quite a few generations. Most blacks today under the age of 50 have any clue what the world was like before civil rights, etc. They have never known aything but opportunity.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • J

      You Sir, are an idiot and of course, White. You have no idea what it was like for me, a black male, growing up in the South. There is racism here and there will always be racism here. And just because slavery ended 150 years ago doesn't mean the discrimination stopped. Stupid comment from an ignorant person indeed.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • OB

      I agree that there are many opportunities to be capitalized on by African Americans – and sadly we don't all do. However, I do believe that many whites use your argument to negative the effects of slavery and inequity. It is not that simple; sadly, we live in a world where people tend to "get it" only when it pertains to themselves. One day, you may understand – but perhaps in a different way.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Too Much Hate

      J, I couldn't agree more...and I commend you for your restraint.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • pen2

      What world have you been living in? Racism is still here and very much alive.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  11. Jesus was a space alien

    Black GOP Mormon? That sounds like a monority dream for the GOP. If she was a cripple and and jew she could be on James Watt's all star list.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  12. Truth

    The most annoying thing about dumb people (aka 95% of people posting here) is that they're too dumb to know they wrong and not intelligent. They're so dumb in fact they think they have everything figured out. Just read the comments section and that'll prove true.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • luke

      Your lack of correct gramar proves you o be a hypocrite... just saying.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  13. Mike

    God himself with deal with Joel Osteen comments that he believes Romney is a Christian. Once again he has not read the book of mormon nor does he understand their sacred oath that every mormon must take or they are not considered mormons and that is not to accept nor confess that Jesus Christ is the Only true Son of God and was born of a virgin. THEY CANNOT confess this or they would be banned from the mormon church. The Jesus of the Mormons is not the only son of God and was not born of a virgin but born by God's Heavenly wife and Lucifer is God's other Son just like Jesus. Read the Book people, I did. WOW

    May 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Steve

      Are you a mormon? If not then you have no right to speak about their religion.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Kurt

      I'm a Mormon, and consider myself Christian. Are you going to be okay?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Michael

      Wow. Just... wow.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Ryan

      Obviously you didn't. You have no idea. Try again after you have learned from the Mormons themselves what the Mormons believe, not what some pastor told you to say.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • luke

      Im sorry you think that's what the mormon church believes. I would love to take you to church one day and teach you the truth of our gospel.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • tpfd

      I have read the book of mormon 4 times and have absolutely nooo idea what you are talking about. Try again.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • nairb247

      No you didn't. The Book of Mormon doesn't state that.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • brett

      Hey Mike, Mormon here and I, along with everyone else who is a Mormon accept and confess that Jesus Christ is the only true Son of God and was born of a virgin.

      so...ya, there's that. Try love, not hate. It's better for you blood preasure.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  14. Tyrone

    @ abundum WORD, You are 100 % true. The Bigots in the quarom, which of course are white, whiter & whitest, Never have & never will offer a Formal apology to thta of people with dark skin. & they are tax EXEMPT???????

    May 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • micook

      As a "whiter" guy, why do I owe you an apology? Are you black, blacker or blackest? Why should anyone on this forum apologize to someone they don't know?

      May 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  15. Mark

    I actually like her and I'm not a big fan of most of the GOP candidates. Well actually any of them. She is articulate and from hearing her so far she doesn't seem filled with irrational hate. The GOP 'the sky is falling' campaign just doesn't work well when the economy is far far better off now than 3 years ago... just today we have hit 4 year highs in the DOW. If Americans are suffering it is not because of Obama getting in the way of big business or slowing corporate growth. The fact is the trickle down 'let the wealthy create the jobs' plan is failing miserably. Companies making more money and productivity is soaring. We simply need less people to do the jobs in the 'capitalistic' world. We can't blame Obama when corporations and businesses are at record profits and the people fighting against Obama want to give those businesses even more breaks and cut social programs for those left out of this incredibly profitable corporate environment.

    There is a reason the top tax rates were at 90% back in the 1950's and even much higher under Reagan than they are now. We have an expensive military and an aging population plus a lot of people out of work as productivity and corporate efficiency soar. That is going to require sacrifice from the wealthy. Sure it would be nice if the poor and middle class could also pay in more but they simply don't have it to give and need to be consumers in this economy.

    Record DOW profits today yet people will blame Obama for 'hurting business'. The people have been sold out by corporations just like during the industrial revolution. Work goes to the lowest bidder... not to an American.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • pburt

      You can Google a video where someone asks her about insider trading, and she has no idea what it is, even after it is explained to her. Not ready for prime time.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  16. Truth

    Why are 95% of comments on these boards absolutely moronic? Are you people really that stupid and do you really think you have all the answers like you clowns claim?

    May 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Norm

      You are ab eacon of "truth" in one place, your own mind. Stop calling anyone who doesn't agree with you a moron because that is a very low bar.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Norm

      You are a beacon of "truth" in one place, your own mind. Stop calling anyone who doesn't agree with you a moron because that is a very low bar.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  17. micook

    The GOP is all about gimmicks!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Truth

      True, but so are the democrats. They're both corrupt and if you can't see that then you're a moron.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • micook

      I never said the Democrats aren't the same! The article is about the GOP! And, that's what I commented on!

      May 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Truth

      Well alrighty then, but when you post only GOP you make it seem that you only think the GOP is full of gimmicks. I stand corrected!!

      May 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • micook

      I post according to the topic at hand, and I am conservative, I have voted Republican in life... I post what's relevant to the topic at hand!

      May 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      Yes, and this is one of the Biggest Gimmicks (Remember S Palin). All it takes for a Black Person to win a Republican Elections is to sound off against Obama. This really feeds to the White Repubs Ego, I wonder what White Man is this Black Woman's Husband, Is she a Sister Wife. I wonder is she a sister from another Mama to Herman Cain. A Black Female Married Moron, I mean Mormon, You may as well not even talk or ask her questions BECAUSE HER WHITE MAN HUBBY IS AND WILL BE IN FULL & TOTAL CONTROL OF HER EVERY MOVE & MOST IMPORTANTLY VOTE IN CONGRESS.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  18. DJ in TX

    I'm very happy for Ms Love and what she's accomplished. No one should try to make her a victim. That being said, I don't care about hers or anyone elses religion. That is a person choice. I do disagree with her policies if she's running on current, and I stress "current" GOP policy. I'm independent and OK with moderate GOP policy, not the far right of today's GOP. I'm also OK with some Democratic moderates as well, not the far left.

    Again, kudos to Ms. Love and her accomplishments, but I would prefer a moderate Democrat to win that seat:-). And this has nothing to do with her personally.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  19. StartRippingHer

    Poor girl... She is about to get a taste of how tolerant, pro-woman, pro-black, and open minded dims and media really are. If you try to get out of their stereotype umbrella, they will make you pay. This doesn't fit their narrative.. watch your back.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Norm

      Yeah, that's right because you, being the all-knowing one that you are, realize that all progressive-minded people are the same. I can only imagine what fits into your narrow box. Perhaps not many black Americans, but you'll gladly use them if they fit your needs. Am I getting warm?

      May 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Learn to Fish

      Yeah, the video of the interview is a perfect example of this. The interviewer wants to put her in the liberal category so bad she's about to explode.

      May 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  20. Mike

    Being Mormon is a non-starter if you live in Utah. That's not a minority there. However, good for her all the same.

    May 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
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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.