U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, D-UT, once again took the lead in the Utah 4th Congressional District race as additional ballots were processed on Friday in Utah and Salt Lake counties.
Republican Burgess Owens gained a lead on Thursday evening over the Democratic incumbent, who had a slight lead on election night, when Utah County and Salt Lake County updated their results, giving Owens 132,647 votes, 47.99% and McAdams 130,363 votes, 47.16%, and putting the Republican ahead by 2,284 votes.
A small ballot dump by the Utah County Elections Division on Friday afternoon did little to change things, with Owens gaining nine votes and McAdams gaining six votes.
But shortly after, a Salt Lake County ballot dump of about 15,000 ballots gave McAdams 8,330 additional votes and Owens an additional 5,633 votes, putting McAdams back in the lead with 138,699 total votes statewide, 47,61%, compared to Owens with 138,289 votes, 47.47% — a difference of 410 votes.
Utah County officials estimate there are a few thousand 4th District ballots left to count in the county, where Owens holds a commanding 40-point lead.
Utah County Elections Director Rozan Mitchell said election staff are “trying to identify and count them (4th District ballots) first” since the race is so tight.
“There will just be some loose ends to tie up throughout the coming week,” Mitchell told the Daily Herald on Friday.
It is unclear how many remaining ballots in the 4th District race there are left in Salt Lake County, where McAdams holds a 13-point lead, but some estimate it could be around 59,000.
In Sanpete County, where voters favor the Republican candidate by 55 points, there are an estimated 40 ballots in the 4th District race that are currently being reviewed due to signature discrepancies or other issues, according to the Sanpete County Clerk’s Office.
There are a few hundred more provisional ballots left to be counted, though it is unclear how many of them are in the 4th District. The county clerk’s office, which last updated results on Wednesday, told the Daily Herald it will release more results early next week.
It is also unclear how many ballots remain in Juab County, where Owens has a 66-point lead. Juab County last updated its results on Tuesday night.
In a written statement, Andrew Roberts, McAdams’ campaign manager, said the campaign “remain(s) confident that Ben will be re-elected.”
“Again, we’re seeing numbers go back and forth as additional votes are tallied,” the campaign manager said. “We are grateful to Utah’s election clerks for their deliberate, thorough work on behalf of Utah voters and candidates.”
Libertarian Party candidate John Molnar and United Utah Party candidate Jonia Broderick have gotten 3.06% and 1.87% of votes, respectively.