Sooner or later, a black Republican woman was bound to run for Congress. It’s just that nobody expected her to hail from Utah.

Mia Love won the GOP nomination for the 4th Congressional District race Saturday at the Utah Republican Convention, scoring a major upset after wowing the crowd with a roof-raising speech at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Mrs. Love took 70.4 percent of the delegate vote, well in excess of the 60 percent required to avoid a primary runoff under Utah’s unique rules. She defeated former state legislator Carl Wimmer, who had been viewed as the heavy favorite. He mustered only 29.6 percent of the vote.

If Mrs. Love, 37, defeats her Democratic opponent, Rep. Jim Matheson, she will become the first black Republican woman to serve in the House.

“She really gave a great speech. She gave an enthusiastic and well-delivered speech,” said Tim Chambless, associate professor of political science at the University of Utah. “And I think there’s a desire to send a message to the rest of the country that Utah is not all white males.”

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