SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The race for Utah’s 4th Congressional District is too close to call, according to a new report from The Cook Political report — which declared the race a “toss-up.”
Cook backtracked its original predictions — which put incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, narrowly ahead the eventual Republican nominee — after Burgess Owens was nominated in June. The race originally leaned favorably toward the incumbent Democrat, but now rests in the center.
4th District race sits at a tie
This comes after a recent Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll showed a tie between McAdams and Owens, with both pulling 35% of registered voters in the district. Roughly 24% say they are still unsure who they’ll vote for.
However, the Cook Political Report categorizes the area as an R+13 district — meaning the Utah district is 13 more percentage points Republican compared to the rest of the country. Despite this, McAdams was able to manage a victory — albeit it narrow — over then-incumbent Mia Love in 2018.
Now, he’s the only Democrat in Utah’s Congress. And Republicans want to change that.
GOP seeks to unseat McAdams
Although McAdams presents himself as a centrist Democrat, critics often paint him as an ally to figures who are are unpopular within the GOP — such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On the other hand, Owens — a former NFL player — has positioned himself farther to the right, closely aligning himself with President Donald Trump (who endorsed Owens shortly after his primary victory).
Owens has painted himself as a champion for religious conservatives, serving on the Latter-day Saints for Trump advisory board unveiled by the president’s re-election campaign team.
Despite the tight race, McAdams’ job approval ratings have generally been strong within the district. According to a Deseret/Hinckley Poll conducted in April, 47% of registered voters in the district either “strongly” or “somewhat” approved of the Congressman’s performance.
Twenty-four percent of voters reported they were unsure.
However, the same poll found an almost-even split between voters on whether they would re-elect McAdams. These one-third sections reported they would either vote for him again, choose someone else or were unsure.
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