Owens Leads McAdams By 1,616 Votes In 4th Congressional District Race

Nov 12, 2020, 7:54 PM | Updated: 7:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Republican Burgess Owens maintained a lead over Democratic incumbent Ben McAdams in Utah’s 4th Congressional District race after Salt Lake County officials released more results Thursday.

Owens is ahead by 1,616 votes and has so far received 174,122 votes compared to McAdams’ 172,506 votes. There are still thousands of ballots to be counted, but it’s not known how many belong to the 4th district race.

After Thursday’s update, Owens had 47.47% of the vote and McAdams had 47.03%, which is outside of the recount request threshold of 0.25%.

“The 4th Congressional District has always been a close race,” said Utah Elections Director Justin Lee. “Even before vote-by-mail, we didn’t usually know the outcome of the 4th Congressional District until right at that canvass deadline which is two weeks after the election. So this is not surprising in any way.”

Salt Lake County reported that it has 11,270 provisional ballots remaining to be counted and approximately 2,000 mail-in ballots that are waiting for voters to fix signature issues. The county does not sort ballots by congressional district and does not know how many of those remaining ballots will affect the race between McAdams and Owens.

“Burgess Owens is performing better than some had expected in Salt Lake County, particularly in the outskirts of the Salt Lake City,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Utah County officials estimated they had fewer than 300 ballots remaining in the 4th district race. There are two other counties that report votes for the district — Juab and Sanpete counties.

Juab County officials reported they have zero outstanding ballots, while Sanpete County officials reported on Tuesday that they had 186 ballots left to be counted.

“This is the first election that we have had in Utah where people were not allowed to vote straight party ticketing,” Perry went on to say. “I think that had an impact on Ben McAdams as well.”

Once again, it appears the race will come down to the results of the provisional ballots. McAdams finally won the seat two weeks after Election Day in 2018 by just 694 votes against Republican Mia Love.

Perry said that McAdams had an advantage in 2018 with provisional ballots because of new voters registering on Election Day to vote for the medical marijuana ballot initiative.

“It was really those provisional ballots that ultimately put Ben McAdams ahead last time,” Perry said.

More results are expected on Friday from Utah and Salt Lake counties. The counties have until Nov. 17 to finalize election results.

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Owens Leads McAdams By 1,616 Votes In 4th Congressional District Race