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Owens appears to secure 4th District GOP nod; 1st District congressional races still tight

The Capitol is framed through a window in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Early results suggest Burgess Owens will be the Republican candidate who will seek to knock Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, out of his 4th District Congressional seat in November. Updated results released Wednesday for the 1st District races remained too close to call. 

4th district results

The Associated Press declared Owens the winner in the Republican primary shortly after first results were released Tuesday night. The 4th District still has outstanding ballots to count, but officials say there’s a wide enough margin to feel confident in the results. 

Owens, a former NFL player, leads the primary polls with 43.53% of the vote, preliminary results show. Primary polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday with election officials releasing preliminary results around 10 p.m. 

Here are the preliminary results from the primary:


Burgess Owens – 43.53% | 34,090

Kim Coleman – 23.85% | 18,675

Jay McFarland – 21.63% | 16,936

Trent Christensen – 10.99% | 8,606

Updated 6:00 a.m. 7/1

The seat is currently held by Rep. Ben McAdams, who is the only Democrat representing Utah in Congress. McAdams assumed the position after defeating incumbent Mia Love in 2018 with a margin of fewer than a thousand votes. 

The incumbent congressman advanced straight to the general election ballot after the party’s state convention April 25, receiving 89.3% majority vote. The GOP candidate that emerges from the Republican primary will face McAdams for the seat in November.

Utah’s other congressional races

Early polls from primary elections show close races for both Democratic and Republican candidates vying for Utah’s 1st Congressional District seat — the only open Congress seat without an incumbent running. 

Races are deemed too close to call, with election staffers not expecting official results until later this week. 

Preliminary results for the congressional races, released around 10 p.m., show Darren Parry leading the Democratic polls in the 1st District with 52.52% of the vote. Jamie Cheek is close behind with 47.48% of the vote. 

GOP results show Blake Moore narrowly leading the polls with 30.23% of the vote, followed by Bob Stevenson with 29.60% of the vote. Kerry Gibson and Katie Witt are reporting 23.45% and 16.73% of the polls, respectively. 

Witt conceded from the race Tuesday after the first results were released.



BLAKE MOORE – 30.23% | 27,653 votes

BOB STEVENSON – 29.60% | 27,077 votes

KERRY GIBSON – 23.45% | 21,454 votes

KATIE WITT – 16.73% | 15,301 votes


DARREN PARRY – 52.52% | 89,17 votes

JAMIE CHEEK – 47.48% | 80,60 votes

Updated 6:00 a.m. 7/1

However, these numbers are not official results as ballots will continue being counted Wednesday and Thursday — as the postmark deadline was changed during a special season in April to resolve issues posed by the pandemic. Ballots that were postmarked by Tuesday will be counted in the final votes. 

The race for Utah’s 1st Congressional District is the only race — aside from the governor’s race — with a guaranteed new leader, as incumbent Congressman Rob Bishop announced in July 2019 he would not run for re-election. 

Instead, Bishop is on the ballot as Thomas Wright’s running mate for lieutenant governor. 

Related coverage: Utah 2020 Primary Election

Results expected later this week

Voters and candidates should expect results in the Congressional races to be posted later than usual, as Utah conducted an all-mail primary in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a result, poll locations throughout the state were closed and the postmark deadline was extended to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Typically, official results can be expected two weeks after polls close — but Utah is extending this to three weeks, accounting for election staff members to quarantine. 

Roughly 607 thousand ballots were sent out for the GOP primary, with roughly 392 thousand ballots turned in and processed by 5:30 p.m. This is a jump from recent years, with roughly 381 thousand ballots turned in for the 2018 primary and 318 thousand in 2016, according to election officials.