Genius Panelists: Will it be Love or Owens in 4th District?

blue 01This week’s question: What will happen in Utah’s 4thDistrict race between Mia Love and Doug Owens? Is it close? Who wins? What impact will presidential race have?

Peter Corroon, state Democratic chair, former Salt Lake County mayor and former gubernatorial candidate., Rightfully, this race deserves Utah’s attention. It was so close in 2014, but with voter turnout expected to be greater than two years ago, I expect Doug Owens to take back Utah’s 4th for Democrats.

He will represent Utah’s values above everything. He will be his own person and work across party lines to create policy. He prioritizes education, pro-business reform, and healthcare. He understands the 4th District and wants to find ways to bring good-paying jobs to Utahns.

As for the presidential election, it’s undoubtedly going to hurt Mia Love. She’s been ducking away from the GOP nominee throughout the campaign, while her party and congressional cohorts embrace the Donald. As long as she does not disavow Mr. Trump, she will be hamstrung to his campaign.

In the end, Utahns in the 4th District will love voting for Doug.

W. Val Oveson, former state auditor, state lieutenant governor and national taxpayer advocate. Even with all the talk of Utah going blue this year, it’s not going to happen. Trump will win in Utah and Mia will win as well. Trump will actually help Mia, but mostly she will do it on her own. She has established herself as a hard-working congresswoman and is starting to make a difference. Doug is still running uphill.

Ralph Becker, former Salt Lake City mayor and state senator. Aaaah, weighing in on the politics, maybe the only real race this year. Utah’s 4th District race between Mia Love and Doug Owens will be close and a test of whether Utahns in the 4th District can vote for a Democrat. The effective gerrymandering by the Republican Legislature makes this the only competitive Congressional race in Utah if there is a weak Republican candidate and a strong Democratic candidate. That is the case this year, as was true two years ago. Doug Owens should win this race, but 20 years of political involvement in Utah make me skeptical. When will Utahns vote “their conscience”?

Doug has the knowledge, intelligence, background, and ability to work towards solutions that we need more of in Congress. We have enough partisan dependence, and we need people who won’t just vote the Party line, talk the Party spin, and continue the paralysis that undermines our nation and democracy. Doug has those qualities, and I haven’t seen Mia exhibit them. The presidential race may not impact this Congressional race other than more Republicans staying home over disgust with Donald Trump.

Derek Miller, President, World Trade Center Utah and former gubernatorial chief of staff. Mia Love will win handily over Doug Owens in the 4th congressional district race.  As much as Democrats are hoping that Owens can ride the “anti-Trump” wave in Utah to victory, it just won’t happen.  Yes, most Utahns, especially Mormons, find Trump’s personality, politics and policies distasteful.  But these are still thoughtful and responsible voters, and they are not going to punish Congresswoman Love for Trump’s transgressions. 

Moreover, Democrats have their own albatross in the form of Hillary Clinton who has even higher negative ratings in Utah than Trump.  In the voting booth (or filling out a mail-in ballot at the kitchen table), a majority of Utahn’s will look down ballot and vote for consistent, effective leadership by reelecting conservative state-wide office holders as well as the current congressional delegation, including Mia Love.  At this time, more than ever, Utahns will value the strong, conservative leadership that has made our state one of the strongest in the Union.  

Richard Kendell, former Davis School District superintendent, commissioner of higher education, and education advisor to Gov. Leavitt. Mia Love will probably win Utah’s 4th District race.  She has the advantages of being a Republican and an incumbent.  She has not accumulated a record of real accomplishment (perhaps too early to judge), but she has made no major mistakes.  The recent polls indicate that she wins.

I don’t think that the presidential race will have much of an impact in the 4th District race; however, the Trump candidacy has opened wide the fractures in the Republican Party.  This not to say that the Democrats are fully united, but the more interesting dynamic is in the Republican Party.  While Trump supporters are not easy to categorize, there are some re-occurring themes in Trump’s rhetoric and in that of his followers:  distrust of government, especially at the Federal level; disdain for public education including higher education; suspicions of science especially regarding  the phenomenon of global warming or any other scientific explanation that goes against Holy Writ; resistant to any plan of immigration reform that includes some pathway to citizenship;  pro-life; pro-gun; isolationist with respect to international partnerships and trade policies; critical of women, minority populations ( especially Muslims) and people of color; militaristic in any approach to solving international conflicts and crises.  This litmus test could be extended, but the point is that if you disagree with it ( or even some of it), you may be cast into that great RINO tarpit.

I admit that I may be wrong and that these themes do not represent the standards and values of the GOP.  On the other hand, these emerging themes may solidify to become the backbone of the party, and I will need to learn to swim in the tarpit with the other RHINOS.  Worse still, I could be confined to a small room with Michele Bachman and Sarah Palin, two great intellectual leaders of the new “ right.”

Nolan Karras, former Utah House speaker and gubernatorial candidate. The question is what impact will the presidential race have on Representative Love? I suspect it will not be good.

Boyd Matheson, president, The Sutherland Institute. Representative Love will defeat Doug Owens by double digits in the 4th Congressional District race this November.  Political rematches are always difficult for the challenger, and Mr. Owens doesn’t seem to have added anything unique or energizing to his campaign to change the dynamic.  Representative Love has kept her head down while doing the hard work that has won her praise from colleagues on both sides of the aisle and constituents in Utah.  The greatest risk to the Love campaign would be an apathetic or undisciplined effort this fall.  The presidential race will not be a factor here in the state as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally distrusted and despised by Utahns.  Neither will come to the state except maybe to pocket some campaign cash.   In the end, Representative Love solidifies her strength in the 4th District and sets herself, and Utah, up for significant opportunities in her second term.

LaVarr Webb, Utah Policy Daily publisher. The presidential race cuts both ways in this race, and I don’t believe it will have much impact. Love is a stronger candidate this time around and will have more money than Owens. Owens is a good guy and a good campaigner, but it’s a difficult race for any Democrat. I’d put my money on Love right now.