Rep. McAdams regains lead in 4th District race

Nov 3, 2020, 8:08 PM | Updated: Nov 6, 2020, 4:11 pm
4th Congressional District, Burgess Owens pulls ahead 2,095 votes in Utah’s 4th District...
Rep. Ben McAdams, and Republican challenger Burgess Owens both pictured in 2020 file photos. (Scott G Winterton and Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Scott G Winterton and Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Updated numbers show Rep. Ben McAdams has taken the lead over Republican challenger Burgess Owens in the race for Utah’s 4th Congressional District. 

 As of Friday afternoon, McAdams has garnered 138,699 votes (47.61%) with Owens trailing at 138,289 votes (47.47%) of the total ballots cast. These results are not official and are expected to change over the next few days. 

The race has gone back-and-forth, with McAdams and Owens taking turns heading the race. At one point Thursday, Owens held a lead of only 18 votes over his incumbent challenger. 

The district is still waiting on more ballots to be counted, although it’s unclear how many more there are left. It’s expected there are mostly provisional ballots left to be reported on Monday. 

Despite the continual flips, both campaigns say the race is far from over — with both candidates expressing optimism in a victory. 

Utah’s 4th District garners national attention

The race for the 4th District is the closest in the state, gathering national attention as Owens seeks to unseat the lone Democrat in Utah’s congressional delegation. 

McAdams has held the seat since 2018 after he narrowly eked out a victory over then-Rep. Mia Love — winning by fewer than 700 votes.

The race between the incumbent congressman and Owens — a former NFL player — is expected to be tight, and the outcome is called  a “toss up” by the Cook Political Report. Different reports have gone back and forth on which candidate is favored, teetering between McAdams and Owens in the weeks leading up to the election. 

A mix of controversy

National eyes turned to the Beehive State, categorizing this race as one of the tightest House races in the country. But a mix of controversy has since ensued. 

The New York Times reported Owens accepted at least $135,000 in illegal donations ahead of Election Day — which is about 40% of the funds the campaign had left in the final stretch of the campaign. 

Owens has also gotten himself entangled with his opponent after appearing on different web shows that are linked with the QAnon conspiracy theory. Although he did not discuss the group in several of these appearances, he suggested there may be some merit to “look into.”

“One of the things we need to recognize with the left is if they ever say the word, ‘Conspiracy,’ let’s look into it much deeper because there’s something they’re trying to keep us away from,” Owens said during an interview with REELTalk with Audrey Russo. “Whatever this other group is, I have no idea.”

McAdams called on his challenger to disavow QAnon,  the conspiracy theory group. The Owens campaign responded by saying the Republican nominee had condemned the group “many times.” 

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Rep. McAdams regains lead in 4th District race