"Everyone seems to notice," she said, with a laugh.
As a group, congressional Republicans are, after all, still overwhelmingly white. The only two current black House Republicans were elected in 2010. And white men constitute 86 percent of the House GOP. The Democratic Caucus is a veritable ethnic kaleidoscope by comparison, with white men accounting for only 53 percent of its members. The Cook Political Report's David Wasserman projects that after November, white men will be a minority among the House Democrats' caucus, a first.
The Republican Party has rolled out the red carpet for Love and the other Young Guns. On Wednesday, they enjoyed dinner at a local steakhouse with Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, among others. On Thursday, party officials organized a breakfast fundraiser and they were introduced to K Street power brokers and check-cutters. They were also given the rare privilege, for candidates, of entering the inner sanctum of the House GOP Conference that they hope to join next year, sitting through a morning meeting in the basement of the Capitol.
"It was a little overwhelming for me," said Richard Tisei, a Massachusetts Republican running against Rep. John Tierney. Republicans believe Tierney, a Democratic incumbent in the bluest of states, is vulnerable because his wife and brother-in-law have been ensnared in an offshore-gambling scandal.
Tisei, who is openly gay, said the House GOP leadership has embraced him even as he stresses to party leaders, "I don't agree necessarily with every plank in the Republican platform."
He added, "It's really important to have me here as part of the caucus because when issues come up, I will have a different viewpoint."
The most recent issue concerning a prominent gay Republican came when presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney hired an openly gay spokesman, who hastily resigned in the face of criticism from conservatives. Tisei says he has had no such complications in his bid.
"Everybody here has made me feel totally welcome," he said.
Ricky Gill, a 25-year-old Indian-American law school graduate who has raised more than $1 million to challenge Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., said his candidacy serves to "forecast the future a little bit" for the GOP.
Half the 2012 Young Guns — a program created by Cantor, McCarthy, and Ryan, who used to refer to themselves as "Young Guns," to bolster GOP challengers for Democratic-held seats — are refurbished candidates who lost in 2010. For some, such as attorney Andy Barr, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler of Kentucky after losing by less than 1,000 votes last time, the task has gotten harder. Redistricting has made Chandler's seat slightly more Democratic.
Still, Barr was bullish on his chances this go-round, noting that President Obama lost 12 of the 19 counties in the new district to "uncommitted" in the recent Kentucky Democratic primary. "Are they for this president's job-killing agenda? No, they are not," he said.