Rep. Ben McAdams, Utah’s lone Democrat in office, enjoys a massive cash advantage over his Republican opponent as they begin the sprint toward November’s election according to new campaign finance reports filed Wednesday.
McAdams has $2.61 million in his campaign account, which is nearly 29 times as much as Republican nominee Burgess Owens has on hand following his primary election win.
McAdams reported raising $566,693 from April through June.
Owens raised just over $128,000 from June 11 through June 30. He has a little more than $90,000 remaining in the bank. The Republican candidates in the race had to report fundraising numbers in mid-June prior to the GOP primary. McAdams did not face a primary opponent.
Owens will have to start raising money and fast to be competitive with McAdams. In 2018, McAdams and Republican incumbent Mia Love spent more than $9 million combined, making the race one of the most expensive in Utah campaign history. Owens has spent $676,303 so far this cycle.
The contest between McAdams and Owens will be one of the fiercest in the U.S. ahead of the November election. Outside groups are expected to unleash a tsunami of ad spending in the fight over the seat. The district leans Republican, and the national GOP would love to unseat McAdams, while Democrats are expected to mount a furious defense of McAdams to keep the seat in their column. Outside spending accounted for another $2.9 million in 2018.
Owens bested three other Republicans to win the right to face McAdams.
State Rep. Kim Coleman, who won the GOP convention vote, but finished 19 points behind Owens in the primary, spent a total of $605,000 on her unsuccessful campaign.
Former radio host Jay McFarland, who ended up a distant third, spent $168,482 on his effort, but finishes the campaign with $154,112 in campaign debt. Just under $5,000 of those debts comes from cash McFarland loaned his own campaign. Ironically, McFarland made the national debt one of his signature campaign issues.
Trent Christensen, who entered the race just before the filing deadline, spent slightly under $100,000 on his fourth-place effort. Christensen reported owing $121,665 in campaign debt, but a little more than half of that total is made of funds Christensen loaned to his own campaign.
McAdams saw his approval ratings drop following his vote to impeach President Donald Trump in the district, but that has rebounded into positive territory. He now has the highest job approval rating of any member of Utah’s congressional delegation. UtahPolicy.com/KUTV 2News polling from Y2 Analytics shows 59 percent of voters in Utah’s 4th Congressional District approve of how he’s handling his job, while just 34 percent disapprove. McAdams has a net positive approval rating of +25.
Owens was endorsed by President Trump via Twitter after his primary election win.