McAdams/Owens matchup shifts slightly toward the GOP

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Freshman Democrat Ben McAdams’ re-election prospects are looking a little dicier with less than three months to go before the election. 

On Friday, the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman shifted his projection for the race in Utah’s 4th Congressional District from “Lean Democrat” to a “Toss-Up” after recent polls showed McAdams either tied or trailing his Republican challenger Burgess Owens.

“McAdams’s future looked bright earlier this year when Republicans’ top recruit, state Sen. Dan Hemmert, bowed out. But now multiple polls show the Blue Dog freshman tied or trailing long-retired NFL safety Burgess Owens,” writes Wasserman. 

“Owens, who has been a frequent outspoken guest on Fox News as an African-American athlete critical of Colin Kaepernick, is a pro-Trump culture warrior and doesn’t fit the mold of a Republican who would ordinarily do well in these suburbs,” he continued. 

The most recent survey from the Deseret News showed McAdams and Owens tied at 35 percent each, although that survey used registered voters instead of likely voters for their sample.

A July poll from the Republican super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund gave Owens a 9-point lead over McAdams at 43-34 percent. The CLF PAC booked $3.1 million in television ad time ahead of the election to oppose McAdams’ re-election bid. 

McAdams recently launched his first television ad of the fall campaign, purchasing nearly $400,000 in ad time running through election day. The early ad buy may be a sign of nervousness from McAdams’ camp about the not so rosy polling in the race. 

McAdams does enjoy a massive campaign cash advantage over Owens, banking a nearly 29-1 gap over his Republican challenger. The most recent campaign finance reports show McAdams with $2.6 million cash on hand to Owens $90,000.

Owens raised eyebrows recently when it was revealed he appeared as a guest on an obscure web program devoted to the QAnon conspiracy theory, although Owens did not discuss QAnon during his guest shot on the show. 

Owens is a frequent guest on Fox News where he espouses several right-wing talking points. Recently he attacked the Washington Redskins for changing their nickname, blaming the move on the “left trying to destroy our history.” He has also blamed the cancellation of the college football season on the “radical left.”