McAdams concedes to Owens in competitive Utah district

Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) on Monday conceded to Republican Burgess Owens in one of the most competitive House races in the country.

“Today, I called Burgess Owens to congratulate him on winning this hard-fought and close race,” McAdams said during a virtual press conference, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. “My campaign was centered around a rejection of extremism and the need for leaders that will put the needs of the people they represent before any political party. I’m deeply humbled by the support I received from so many Utahns who shared that vision and want you to know that while we did not prevail, I remain committed to that ideal.”

The race has not yet been called by The Associated Press.

McAdams only narrowly defeated then-GOP Rep. Mia Love, to date the only Black Republican woman to serve in Congress, in 2018 by a mere 694 votes in the Salt Lake City-based district.

His run for reelection this year was similarly competitive against Owens, an NFL player and nonprofit founder.

Owens’s victory means that House Republicans will have at least two Black members in their ranks starting in January. The only current Black House Republican, Rep. Will Hurd (Texas), is retiring. But Republican Byron Donalds won in an open, safe GOP Florida district on election night.

President Trump carried the district by nearly 7 points in 2016. But before Love, it had been represented by a Democrat, former Rep. Jim Matheson.

McAdams tried to build a moderate voting record during his first term and broke with his party on some issues like raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. He was one of just six Democrats to oppose such a bill last year, arguing that minimum wages should be regionally based instead of nationally mandated.

McAdams also at one point floated censure instead of impeachment of President Trump over his attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

But McAdams ultimately voted for both articles of impeachment alleging that Trump had committed an abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“I hoped to find bipartisan common ground to censure the president instead of putting the country through a divisive and lengthy Senate impeachment trial with a predetermined outcome of dismissal,” McAdams said in a statement at the time. “What the president did was wrong. His actions warrant accountability. I cannot turn a blind eye, thereby condoning this president and future presidents, Republican or Democrat, to do the same.”

This year, McAdams was one of the first members of Congress to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in March and was even hospitalized for eight days. He has since recovered from the disease.

Tags 2020 election Ben McAdams Burgess Owens Donald Trump Jim Matheson Joe Biden Mia Love Utah Will Hurd

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