On Friday, as votes continued to be counted in Utah’s 4th Congressional District, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) stepped ahead of Democratic challenger Ben McAdams for the first time since November 6.
According to CNN, Love currently leads McAdams by just 419 votes (50.08% to 49.92%).
The day after most midterm elections were decided, the race for Utah’s 4th appeared to favor McAdams. However, nearly two weeks into the counting process, Love continues to gain on her opponent, chipping away at his initial lead of approximately 5,000 votes.
In response to the gains, Love’s campaign manager Dave Hansen said: “This is just the start of Mia’s victory. We will continue to closely monitor the election results.”
McAdams’ campaign manager Andrew Roberts also released a statement, saying the new results from Utah County are “unsurprising,” and “track the earlier vote margin,” adding:
We’re optimistic that when final numbers are reported Monday, Ben McAdams will again be winning. We’re grateful for the dedication of elections officials and employees as they complete the vital task of counting every legal vote.
According to Utah’s election results website, the “final general election results will be certified by each county by November 20th and by the Lieutenant Governor on November 26th.” Until then, the tally will be updated every few days.
On Wednesday, November 7, President Trump criticized Love for not aligning herself with him more closely:
You had some that decided to, “Let’s stay away. Let’s stay away.” They did very poorly. I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it…
Mia Love – I saw Mia Love. She called me all the time to help her with a hostage situation, being held hostage in Venezuela. But Mia Love gave me no love, and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.
If the margin between Love and McAdams is 0.25% or less after the final results have been tabulated and certified, Utah law allows the losing party to request a recount:
Except as provided in Subsection (1)(c), for a race between candidates, if the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate in the race and a losing candidate in the race is equal to or less than .25% of the total number of votes cast for all candidates in the race, that losing candidate may file a request for a recount in accordance with Subsection (1)(d).
Rep. Mia Love is familiar with close calls. In 2012, she lost her bid for Utah’s 4th to Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson by just 768 votes (0.3%).
In 2014, Matheson decided against seeking re-election. During that election cycle, Doug Owens won the Democratic primary for Utah’s 4th Congressional District. The Salt Lake Tribune reports: “Owens easily won a race for the 4th Congressional District nomination seat against retired engineer Bill Peterson, winning 98 percent of the delegate vote.”
Love went on to defeat Owens 50.9% to 45.8%. In 2016, Love staved off yet another challenge from Owens, defeating him 53.8% to 41.3%.