U.S. Congress McAdams leading Owens in 4th District as Stewart beats Weston in 2nd District
By Rhett Wilkinson
Rep. Ben McAdams leads Burgess Owens after the first night of counting ballots, while Rep. Chris Stewart will be re-elected as he defeated Kael Weston.
In the race to represent Utah’s 4th Congressional District—one of the nation’s most competitive congressional districts which includes Sanpete County—McAdams had 49.5% of the vote as of 12:20 a.m. Wednesday while Owens had 46.01%, according to KUER.
McAdams told the Sanpete Messenger it is “time to put aside politics” and “do what’s right for the American people.”
“I think with the voting now over … it is time for us to start healing as a country,” McAdams said. “Whether your candidate won or lost in various races, it’s time to put politics behind us … our country and our state is hurting right now.”
More than 215,000 ballots had been tallied prior to midnight Tuesday, according to the Desert News.
Calls tothe Owens campaign went to voicemail. An email requesting contact information for personnel that handles media inquiries also proved fruitless.
Jonia Broderick won 1.7% of the vote in the district. As a United Utah Party candidate, she is a bit of a centrist, like McAdams. This means that she probably took votes from McAdams. But when asked about that, McAdams pointed out that Broderick ended up dropping out of the race and supporting him.
“I think she brought a great perspective to the race,” McAdams said. “I developed a good relationship with her and really respect her and the voice she brings to our public discourse.”
McAdams also pointed out that he is waiting for county clerks to process the ballots that are still outstanding.
“We feel good with where we are right now and what we are seeing in the numbers, but there are still a number of ballots to process,” McAdams said.
As of Oct. 29, data from OpenSecrets.org revealed that campaigns for McAdams and Owens have raised almost $10 million combined, with outside groups pumping an additional $13 million into the race.
Owens has gotten national attention for his campaign, with coverage by Fox News, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo News, USA TODAY, Bleacher Report, Center for Responsive Politics, MSNBC, Business Insider, Roll Call, The Daily Beast and The New York Times. BI reported that Owens plagiarized his book. The Daily Beast reported on Owens going onto a podcast that promoted the conspiracy theory QAnon. The Times reported that Owens took a minimum of $135,000 in illegal donations.
The campaign in general also got coverage by the Associated Press, Ballotpedia News, POLITICO, BI, BI Australia and NBC News. NBC News reported that QAnon became a signature issue of the campaign.
In his bid to once again represent Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, Stewart won 61.28% of the vote. Weston took 34.79%.
Stewart told the Messenger that the campaign dealt with challenges of him being in Washington, D.C. 80% of the time and that the campaign couldn’t operate as it normally would due to COVID-19. The campaign planned “dozens and dozens” of events in the three weeks Stewart was in Utah, but the campaign had to cancel almost all of them.
So the campaign “had to be creative in how to reach people,” doing more media outreach and personal phone calls “than you would in a normal year,” Stewart said.
The campaign “ran a great race” and he is “frankly glad it’s over,” Stewart said.
“We can go to work now,” Stewart said, adding that a lot of the work he wants to pursue depends on who is the United States president and that was undecided as of Wednesday morning. However, regardless of who occupies the White House—and regardless of Republicans being the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives—Stewart has been able to make a national suicide hotline number happen and bring forth many other important measures, he said.
“If [Former] Vice President Biden is our president, again, some of those things are going to have to shift,” Stewart said. “But the work goes on … the work for Utah goes on … certainly, the work on the intelligence committee goes on.”
Stewart said he was grateful for those who support him.
“I mean, everyone says that,” Stewart said. “[But] I’m really sincere when telling people thanks for supporting me; thanks for having faith in me.”
Weston wrote a book titled “The Mirror Test” that looks at his seven years employed by the State Department on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he had some near-misses. Stewart set records as a past Air Force pilot and has authored 20 fiction and nonfiction books, New York Times bestsellers among them, according to KSL.