RESULT: Republican Burgess Owens defeats first-term Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams in Utah's 4th Congressional District

RESULT: Republican Burgess Owens defeats first-term Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams in Utah's 4th Congressional District

November 16, 2020
  • Explore more race results below.
  • First-term Rep. Ben McAdams lost reelection to Burgess Owens in Utah's 4th Congressional District, Decision Desk HQ projected on November 16.
  • The district is one of 30 which voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 but is currently represented by a Democrat.
  • McAdams defeated incumbent Rep. Mia Rose in 2018 by only 697 votes — just 0.257%.
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  • UT-04

First-term Rep. Ben McAdams lost reelection to Republican and former NFL football player Burgess Owens in Utah's 4th Congressional District, Decision Desk HQ projected on November 16.

McAdams has called Owens to concede the race, the Desert News reported.

The candidates

McAdams is the only Democratic member in Congress from Utah. He was formerly the mayor of Salt Lake County, a position he held for six years. McAdams is a part of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats and sits on the Financial Services Committee and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. 

In 2018, McAdams defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Mia Love by just 697 votes – a margin of 0.257 percentage points.

Owens is a former safety in the NFL  who played for the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders. Following his football career, Owens ran an electronics company with his brother which ultimately resulted in Owens filing for bankruptcy.

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He later moved to Utah in 2012 and founded Second Chance 4 Youth, a non-profit which supports incarcerated children. He frequently appears as a guest commentator on Fox News and spoke at the Republican National Convention.

On his campaign website, Owens cites some of the hardships he's faced as motivating his fundamental belief in the power of hard work and the unique promise that America offers. 

"Seven years after my NFL retirement and business failure I experienced a long summer during which I worked a series of jobs necessary to support my family and start my journey out of poverty," he wrote. "That included a day job as a chimney sweep followed by a midnight shift as a security guard. It was at the end of this long summer that I would begin a successful 25-year career in the corporate arena. "

The liberal media watchdog organization Media Matters for America reported in late August that Owens had plagiarized significant portions of his book "Why I Stand" from Wikipedia, History.com, and several news publications. 

The district

Utah's 4th Congressional District is located in the center of the state. It is home to much of Salt Lake County and parts of Utah, Juab, Sanpete counties, and a portion of Salt Lake City. The district was first included on the ballot in 2012 following new data from the release of the 2010 US Census.

The central Utah district is one of just 30 in the US which voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 but is currently represented by a Democrat. Trump carried the district by 6.7 percentage points in 2016, according to the Daily Kos. 

The money race

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McAdams had raised $5.1 million, spent $4.8 million, and has around $410,000 in cash on hand. Ownes had raised $4 million, spent $3.6 million, and has around $328,000 in cash on hand. 

What some of the experts said

The race between Owens and McAdams was rated as a "toss-up" by The Cook Political Report, "tilts Democratic" by Inside Elections, and "leans Democratic" according to Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

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