Four Republican congressman up for re-election in Utah

Nov 7, 2022, 2:00 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2022, 4:53 am
U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens, left, and Democrat Darlene McDonald shake hands following their debate Fri...

U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens, left, and Democrat Darlene McDonald shake hands following their debate Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in South Jordan, Utah, in their first and only meeting in the lead-up to the midterm elections. First-term Republican Owens elected not to participate in a televised Utah Debate Commission event earlier this month. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

              U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens speaks during a debate with Democrat Darlene McDonald, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in South Jordan, Utah, in their first and only meeting in the lead-up to the midterm elections. The first-term Republican elected not to participate in a televised Utah Debate Commission event earlier this month. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens, left, and Democrat Darlene McDonald shake hands following their debate Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in South Jordan, Utah, in their first and only meeting in the lead-up to the midterm elections. First-term Republican Owens elected not to participate in a televised Utah Debate Commission event earlier this month. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              FILE - Burgess Owens looks on during a "Blue Rally" to support men and women of law enforcement on June 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. U.S. Rep. Owen's is scheduled to debate Democrat Darlene McDonald in suburban Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
            
              FILE - Burgess Owens, center, looks on during a "Blue Rally" to support men and women of law enforcement on June 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. U.S. Rep. Owen's is scheduled to debate Democrat Darlene McDonald in suburban Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s four congressmen are expected to cruise to victory in Tuesday’s midterm elections after Republican state lawmakers redrew the state’s political maps that expanded the party’s advantage.

The political and demographic landscape had long made three of the state’s four congressional districts almost sure bets for Republicans. But, the other district that covers a suburban swath extending south from Salt Lake City through several cities including West Jordan, Lehi and Saratoga Springs had usually been up for grabs, drawing national interest, piles of glossy campaign mailers and recurring attack ads on local television during college football and Major League Baseball’s World Series.

Not this year.

Republican Burgess Owens, a former NFL player and one of two Black Republicans in the U.S House of Representatives, is heavily favored to win the race in the 4th Congressional District against Democrat Darlene McDonald even though he narrowly defeated Democrat Ben McAdams in 2020.

Former President Donald Trump won the same district by nine percentage points in 2020, but would have won by 26 percentage points under its newly drawn boundaries.

As a result, both candidates and independent political action committees that traditionally support their campaigns have invested less in engaging Utah voters. Outside groups spent $14.3 million to support and attack McAdams and Owens in 2020, according to Open Secrets. This year, outside groups have spent a scant $173,000.

In 2020, Owens and McAdams’ campaigns collectively spent $9.8 million. This year, Owens had spent $3.4 million as of Oct. 19, while McDonald had spent $114,000 — much of which came from $104,000 in funds she personally lent her campaign.

“When a district is not as competitive, candidates don’t have to worry about appealing to voters in order to hold on to their job,” said McAdams, who now works at a University of Utah center focused on social impact investing and last year founded his own organization to bridge political divides.

He noted that public events like townhalls are less commonplace in safer districts.

Owens skipped scheduled televised debates in the lead-up to the primary election and last month. He ultimately participated in a untelevised, candidate-organized substitute debate, where he and McDonald agreed on very little with each largely echoing their party’s talking points on inflation, abortion and infrastructure spending.

McAdams and Mia Love, his Republican predecessor who represented the district from 2015 to 2019, attempted to cultivate reputations as moderates and distinguish themselves from their parties at times. Departing from that pattern, Owens in television advertisements and at the debate focused on critical race theory, his opposition to transgender kids playing women’s sports and “Leftists” co-opting school curriculums and institutions like the military with ideology he considers dangerous.

Utah is not the only state where redistricting changed the political landscape. States such as Oklahoma and Arkansas, where Democrats previously saw some sort of path to victory in one congressional district now have no races expected to be competitive.

Owens converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints near the end of his career in the NFL. He spent part of his childhood growing up in segregation-era Florida and its on the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Judiciary Committee, which oversaw impeachment proceedings against Trump.

McDonald, who is also Black, is an author and community activist focused on education and racial inequities in Utah. She’s previously run for office twice, unsuccessfully.

Katie Wright, the executive director of the Utah-based anti-gerrymandering group Better Boundaries, said she believes the districts were “purposefully drawn to elevate the voice of some voters and dilute the voice of other voters.”

“I fear that this will create apathy and impact voter turnout,” Wright said.

Republicans who drew the districts have defended them, noting the state’s constitution gives lawmakers elected by voters — rather than a panel of appointees — redistricting power. They also highlight how the new congressional map puts urban and rural voters in every district in a way that reflects Utah’s character.

Utah’s other three incumbent U.S House members are also expected to notch easy victories.

In the state’s 1st Congressional District, a northern Utah area that includes Ogden and Logan, Moore faces a challenge from Democrat Rick Jones.

In Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, which spans from St. George through the Salt Lake City suburbs, Stewart is pitted against Democrat Nick Mitchell and two other candidates.

In the 3rd Congressional District, Curtis is running against Democrat Glenn Wright and three other candidates.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N...
Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

Bill protecting same-sex, interracial unions clears Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation protecting same-sex marriages, a monumental step in a decadeslong battle for nationwide recognition that reflects a stark turnaround in societal attitudes. President Joe Biden has said he will promptly sign the measure, which requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages. It is a relief […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Stratton Georgoulis, student researcher and strike captain, stands with hundreds of Universi...
Associated Press

UC’s academic workers strike brings stress to undergraduates

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — A month into the nation’s largest strike involving higher education, the work stoppage by University of California academic workers at 10 campuses is causing stress for many students who are facing canceled classes, no one to answer their questions and uncertainty about how they will be graded as they wrap up […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Peter Møller, fourth from left, attorney and co-founder of the Danish Korean Rights Group, ...
Associated Press

More South Korean adoptees demand probes into their cases

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Nearly 400 South Koreans adopted as children by families in the West have requested South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigate their adoptions through Friday’s application deadline, as Seoul faces growing pressure to reckon with a child export frenzy driven by dictatorships that ruled the country until the 1980s. The […]
23 hours ago
Helpers in the Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus board a cargo plane at Joint Base Elme...
Associated Press

Santa visit brings joy to a frosty Alaska Inupiaq village

NUIQSUT, Alaska (AP) — Though the weather outside was frightful, schoolchildren in the northern Alaska Inupiac community of Nuiqsut were so delighted for a visit by Santa that they braved wind chills of 25 degrees below zero just to see him land on a snow-covered airstrip. Once again, it was time for Operation Santa Claus […]
23 hours ago
FILE - This combo of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in Minnesota, show Tou...
Associated Press

Officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s back faces sentencing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s back while another officer kneeled on the Black man’s neck is expected to be sentenced Friday to 3 1/2 years in prison for manslaughter. J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty in October to a state count of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Thursday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Adna 61, Rainier 53 Auburn Adventist Academy 62, La Conner 50 Auburn Mountainview 62, Mt. Rainier 57 Bremerton 67, Sequim 60 Bush 58, Concrete 24 Catlin Gabel, Ore. 44, Stevenson 28 Chelan 80, Cascade (Leavenworth) 50 Clarkston 65, Colfax 59 Crosspoint Academy 60, Northwest Yeshiva 53 Curtis 100, Bethel 31 DeSales 75, […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Four Republican congressman up for re-election in Utah