Democrat Ben McAdams is the first out of the gate with television advertising in what is expected to be a hotly contested race in Utah’s 4th Congressional District.
McAdams’ campaign purchased nearly $400,000 of advertising that begins on Monday and will run through election day.
McAdams’ Republican Opponent Burgess Owens was named to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program on Tuesday, which assists candidates with fundraising, communications and online strategy.
It’s not surprising McAdams is the first one in the race to hit the airwaves. In June financial disclosure reports, McAdams had a massive 29-1 cash advantage over Owens. McAdams reported more than $2.6 million in the bank, while Owens had just $90,000 on hand following his win in the GOP’s four-way primary.
A recent poll from the Deseret News showed the race as a dead heat, with McAdams and Owens each getting 35 percent support. However, the survey from Rasmussen polled registered voters instead of likely voters, which may not be the best judge of where the race stands with less than three months to go to election day.
The $400,000 ad buy is just a drop in the bucket compared to the massive amount of spending that happened in the 2018 matchup between McAdams and Republican Mia Love. According to data provided by Advertising Analytics, McAdams spent more than $1.8 million on advertising two years ago when he narrowly defeated Love by fewer than 700 votes. Love spent $1.14 million on her losing campaign.
Overall, the two candidates and outside organizations dropped more than $5.3 million on that 2018 race. So far, the only outside spending on the race is from the Republican Congressional Leadership Fund PAC, which has reserved $850,000 in advertising time ahead of November. That’s about half of what the group spent on advertising in the 4th District during the 2018 race.
Although the 4th District is heavily Republican, McAdams is a slight favorite to win re-election according to several national election forecasters.