Doug Owens eyeing run for Utah House in 2020

Doug Owens 03

Two-time Democratic congressional nominee Doug Owens says he’s thinking about jumping into the 2020 election, but he doesn’t have his eye on Washington anymore.

Owens tells he’s thinking about running for the Utah State House seat being vacated by longtime Rep. Patrice Arent, who is retiring after the current term. 

“I’ve received a little bit of encouragement to run,” says Owens.

Owens says he doesn’t see much difference between a run for Congress and running for the Utah Legislature.

“I care about policy, and Patrice was a huge exemplar of how to reach across the aisle and get things done,” he said. “I care about education, solid public lands policy. There’s an opportunity to do a lot of different things, just on a smaller scale.”

Owens would certainly bring a lot of name ID to the race. He was a two-time Democratic nominee in the 4th Congressional District in 2014 and 2016, losing both times to Republican Mia Love. 

Arent first won election to the HD36 seat in 2010 with 54% of the vote. Since then she has won every election with at least 60%, running unopposed in 2016. Her success suggests the district would be solidly in the Democratic column. However, the district’s partisan makeup is 41% independent and 38% Republican, with registered Democrats making up just 21% of the voting population.

Despite Democrats being a minority there, Jenny Wilson carried the seat over Mitt Romney in the 2018 U.S. Senate race 49.78% to 47.57%. Hillary Clinton captured 49.52% of the vote in HD36 in the 2016 presidential election, while Republican Donald Trump got just 26.9%. 

Two other Democratic candidates, Petra Farmer and Frances Johnson have declared their intention to gather signatures to secure a spot on the June primary ballot. 

Owens has approximately $13,000 remaining in his Congressional campaign account that he could use in a potential run for the Utah Legislature.

He says he will make a decision about running soon, but he is leaning toward joining the race.