Political operatives from around the country have been so busy training their lasers on the Mia Love/Scott Matheson race in Utah's 4th Congressional District, they may have failed to notice that a surprisingly strong newcomer is making significant inroads against the five-term incumbent in the 1st District.

Unlike the super PAC-funded, partisan-riddled TV campaign starring Love and Matheson, Democrat Donna McAleer is waging her battle against Republican Rob Bishop on the ground, with shoe leather and elbow grease. And, against all odds in a state where the significant contests are usually sealed in the Republican caucuses, McAleer is connecting with voters in both camps.

Her strength comes from a rare combination of credentials that straddles stereotypes. She is a Democrat who is also a military vet, a former business executive who also ran a nonprofit, and a mom who can also pilot an Olympic bobsled. As a result, constituents are learning that the candidate can talk knowledgebly about everything from troop cohesiveness to the challenges facing classroom teachers.

On a campaign trail that has taken her from oil country to Hill Air Force Base, from dairy farms to business boardrooms, McAleer has demonstrated an intense focus on issues and relentless energy. The West Point military academy grad is on a mission and she intends to carry it out.

contrast, Bishop's appeal to Park City voters, aired on KPCW Tuesday, was based on helping the city override a U.S.


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Air Force bid on the Gambel Oaks property for a military retreat, an effort that took place in 1999.

But voters may well ask, what has has he done for us lately?

During his 10-year tenure in Congress, Bishop has voted against the Affordable Health Care Act, which among other things ensures that individuals can't be denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition. He voted against extending the payroll tax deduction, against the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell military policy that forbade gay members from being open about their orientation, against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act guaranteeing women and minorities equal pay for equal work, and against the Dream Act that would have helped the children of undocumented parents apply for in-state college tuition discounts. He supports efforts to turn federal public lands over to state control and consistently votes for oil and mining interests and against environmental regulations.

McAleer would chart a far different course, one that we believe would offer brighter futures for more Americans, would take a more proactive approach to protecting the environment, and would help to break the gridlock in Washington.

With unflagging determination, McAleer and her team have been pushing their message uphill in a race that, apparently, the national parties believe is a foregone conclusion. We think they might be wrong about that.

Yes, a McAleer win on Nov. 6 is a long shot but the title Congresswoman McAleer is beginning to sound like a possibility. And it has an especially nice ring for Parkites who just might, for the first time, have the opportunity to visit D.C and say, "I'd like to see my congresswoman."