What's Mia Love, the Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, up to these days?
After her one point loss to Democrat Jim Matheson, the woman who wowed the GOP convention in Tampa kept a fairly low profile. But this past week, she was at CPAC and made a major announcement.
In preparation for a bid, Love has hired former state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen, who was widely heralded last year for successfully managing the re-election campaign of Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Love and Hansen sat down with CQ Roll Call for an interview Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she was scheduled to speak.
"We are looking at it very seriously," Love said. "We are trying to get people engaged and going, and let them know that we have to start early so that we are not starting from behind."
Love is reaching out to donors now, some 20 months before the election, and putting in place a campaign team far earlier than last cycle. Love didn't formally enter the wide, 4th District Republican field until January 2012. She shocked Republicans by emerging from the April state party convention with the nomination in hand.
"Getting that message out takes a lot of effort, a lot of funds, so we want to make sure that we are defining ourselves before the opposition does," Love said.
As the nominee, Love quickly gained national attention - including a coveted speaking slot at the Republican National Convention - for her unique background and potential to become the first black Republican woman in Congress. That looked to be a strong possibility in Utah's redrawn and Republican-leaning 4th district, much of which was new to Matheson.
While Love held Matheson to under 50 percent, she underperformed compared to Mitt Romney, who was wildly popular in Utah, by nearly 20 points on the ticket. Some Republican strategists criticized her ads and poorly run campaign, while Matheson credited his established brand and own strong campaign team.
With Hansen on board, Love believes she has now assembled the best possible team.
I think she's going to make it this time. She's got experience, she'll have plenty of money, and Hansen is a savvy operator who knows the district. Combine that with a lower mid-term turnout, and Ms. Love has an excellent chance of breaking through.