Defeating Rep. Ben McAdams is one of the top priorities for national Republicans in 2020.
UtahPolicy.com first reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee was “heavily recruiting” to find a challenger for McAdams next year after his narrow win over Republican Mia Love in 2018.
At least seven Republicans are considering launching a campaign to challenge Mcadams in 2020. Numerous others are being mentioned as possible candidates next year.
It makes sense that Republicans would have a bulls-eye on McAdams. Utah’s 4th is rated as the 91st “most Republican” by the Cook Political Report, and the partisan lean for the district is 13 points more Republican than the national average. McAdams won the seat by less than 700 votes last year.
The district is one of 31 won by President Trump in 2016, but currently held by a Democrat, which is why Republicans are focused on ousting the freshman lawmaker, which is why so many Republicans are mulling a run
One Republican consultant who is keeping close tabs on the race says he’s not surprised that McAdams is being targeted so intensely. They even have given McAdams a catchy nickname - “OTB” or “One Term Ben.”
Which Utah Republicans could step up to challenge McAdams? After speaking with several Republican sources, here are some of the most likely contenders.
Sen. Dan McCay. UtahPolicy.com is told McCay is the most likely to launch a challenge to McAdams in 2020. McCay confirmed he met with the NRCC to discuss a possible run. McCay is off cycle for his seat in the Utah Senate so he would not have to leave the legislature to pursue a congressional bid. McCay has young children, which has some Republicans thinking he may not pull the trigger on a run next year.
Sen. Daniel Hemmert. The Senate Majority Whip is getting some buzz as a possible candidate against McAdams, but he would have to give up his Utah Senate seat in order to run.
Rep. Kim Coleman. Coleman has been rumored as a possible candidate since shortly after McAdams ousted Love in 2018. A congressional run would mean Coleman would have to give up her seat in the Utah House which she has held for three terms.
Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie. Ivie has been on the Utah County Government since 2016. Ivie would likely be able to push turnout in the Utah County area of the district, but would need to turn out Republican support in Salt Lake County, which is home to most of the voters in this race.
Rep. Mia Love. Republicans seriously doubt she’ll run again after going 2-2 in Congressional races. “She likes to be mentioned, but I don’t think she’ll run again,” said one Republican close to Love. She recently became a commentator for CNN.
Kathleen Anderson. Several Republican sources tell UtahPolicy.com the wife of former Utah GOP Chairman Rob Anderson recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with party officials about possibly running for McAdams’ seat.
Rep. Jefferson Moss. Moss is in his second term in the Utah House. He is reportedly being encouraged to run by several Republicans in the legislature, including members of leadership.
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton. Winder Newton met with representatives of the NRCC to discuss a possible run for Congress, but she declined. Instead, Winder Newton is focusing on a run for governor in 2020.
Cedar Hills Mayor Jenney Rees. Several GOP sources say Rees was approached by the NRCC as a possible candidate, but she declined.
Stewart Peay. The newly elected Utah County GOP Chair has been mentioned as a possible candidate, but sources say he is not inclined to run in 2020.
Corey Norman. Republicans have mentioned the chief of staff for Rep. John Curtis as a potential opponent for McAdams, but it’s unlikely he will jump into the race.