SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The contentious and sometimes ugly race for Utah’s 4th District House of Representatives seat got a lot closer Wednesday afternoon.
As of 5 p.m., Democratic incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams led former NFL player Burgess Owens 48.2% to 47.1%, a difference of 2652 votes with 69% of votes counted.
The two campaigns spent more than $20-million dollars on TV ads that aired almost constantly for the past month, many of them negative ads, aimed at tearing down the opponent. On the eve of the election, both Rep. McAdams and Mr. Owens spoke on ABC4 News about the mudslinging.
“There are a lot of untrue and false things that have been said about me in this campaign,” Rep. McAdams said. “The reason we do this is because we are able to help people. I think about the legislation that I have been able to pass to protect kids online to help people who are struggling in this pandemic to protect people with healthcare. I want to work and support people who really need help in a time of crisis.”
“This is my first run in the political arena and I gather this is the way it is, I guess,” Owens said. “The thing that gives me solace is that I’ve spent years building a reputation. We have a lot of respect for my family. They know who their Dad is and our friends around Utah and around the country know who I am.”
McAdams says he’s had to explain all the campaign negativity to his four children.
“It’s important to talk about the critical time we are in as a country,” McAdams said. “I think we have been more divided than we have right now in my lifetime and I tell them we love this country and we want to be a part of healing it and fixing it.”