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Mia Love now promising quick decision on another run for Utah congressional seat

FILE - Surrounded by her family Rep. Mia Love talks about election results in the 4th Congressional District at the Utah Republican Party offices in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Mia Love now says she'll decide in just weeks whether to run again for her former 4th Congressional District seat now held by Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams rather than wait until later this year.

Love told the Deseret News Tuesday that she's continuing to meet with potential Republican candidates she feels could successfully take on McAdams in 2020, but they can't wait long to get in the race.

"It's important for us to find somebody quickly because if there's somebody else, they need to start as soon as possible," Love said. "I feel like I've got a little bit more time, but someone else might not necessarily have as much time."

Last week, Love said in a lengthy interview with the newspaper that "there isn't anyone that I believe can win right now" running as a Republican and that she was ready to enter the race this fall unless that changed.

"I still have some time. I still have all of my fundraising mechanisms in place. I still am close friends with the people who can make it happen in Washington and here," Love said in the interview. "When I need to turn on that faucet, I'll turn it on."

That may be soon. Love, a CNN commentator, said Tuesday the response she's received has "been incredibly encouraging" and that she'll "probably make a decision fairly quickly, in the next couple of weeks or so."

"This is a very difficult thing to do, especially the 4th District," which includes portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties. "It's not an easy race. You have to put everything into it."

Love said she is talking with state Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert, R-Orem; state Rep. Jefferson Moss, R-Saratoga Springs; state Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan; and even Operation Underground Railroad CEO Tim Ballard, about running.

None of them have committed to the race.

Love has raised concerns about the electability of those who have, including Kathleen Anderson, a former Davis County GOP secretary who handled communications for the Utah GOP when her husband, Rob, was chairman.

McAdams hasn't had much to say about a possible rematch with Love. Their contentious 2018 race was decided by less than 700 votes weeks after the election, with Love dubbing him a "wolf in sheep's clothing" in her concession speech.

"I think what's broken about Washington is people are always talking about the next election and I'm not going to do that," McAdams said. "I think the best thing I can do for my reelection is just do a good job. So I'm going to focus on my job."

McAdams, the former Salt Lake County mayor, said he's spoken to Love once since the election.

"I had the chance to run into her and offered her my well wishes on her new venture with CNN. I'm happy to see that she seems to be doing well. If she chooses to run again, that's a decision that's up to her. I wish her all the best."

Utah GOP Chairman Derek Brown suggested the state party let Love down in the last election.

"A lot of things the party should have done for her, it didn't because it was not unified and funded and focused on winning elections," he said.

That's going to be different for whoever runs as the Republican nominee in the 4th District next year, Brown said. Since he took office in April, the state party has paid off its debts and largely set aside its differences over a controversial election law.

Brown said he expects the GOP field to include "a lot of qualified candidates." But he said "Mia did a fantastic job as a member of Congress. If her decision is to jump back into the race, I'm certain she would have a tremendous amount of support."

Love said the race "is not for the faint of heart," and candidates have "to figure it out. And when they do, they have to know as difficult as they think it's going to be, it's 10 times more difficult, and they have to be ready for that."

She said no one should run "because they want to be somebody. You want somebody to run because they feel like they can do something." Love said that's true for her, too.

"There's what you want to do and what you need to do. That's going to be the struggle. I didn't do this job because I felt like I wanted to do it, and this was something I always wanted to do when I grow up," she said.

"I did it because I felt like I needed to do this and felt like I needed to serve, not just my country, but serve the district and people that really needed somebody to fight for them."