US House Races/Utah

Report by Bruce Driver from Indivisible North Boulder.

Utah District 04

Candidates are Mia Love (incumbent R) and Ben McAdams (D)

Love is a two-term incumbent.   The child of Haitian immigrants and African-American, she was a member of the Saratoga Springs (UT) City Council then Mayor over the period 2003-2014.   She has a BFA from the University of Hartford.   She is a staunch but cautious conservative and has voted with Trump 97% of the time.   She voted: “yes” on the tax-cut bill; “yes” on concealed-carry reciprocity; “yes” on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; “yes” on delaying federal ozone standards; “yes” to penalize sanctuary cities; “yes” to repeal Obamacare; “yes” to overturn an Obama stream protection rule; but “no” on the Omnibus spending legislation.   Discussion of issues on her homepage is outdated, but it is revealing.   She says she is a strong defender of the 2d. Amendment; a fan of legal immigration, wants to prevent the overstay of visas and develop a program of entrepreneurial visas.   There is nothing on her immigration page about DACA, the Wall or separation of children from families, but she did sign the discharge petition on immigration and she is reported to have attacked the separation of children from their families on the border.   Like Coffman, she voted “yes” on the compromise immigration bill and “no” on the Goodlatte bill.   On public lands, she advocates a balanced approach (nothing about selling or giving federal lands to the states or developers), and she supports locally-driven approaches to land management.   She advocates for an all-of-the-above energy policy.   There’s nothing about climate change, women’s rights, abortion, access to contraception or the LGBTQ community in her discussion of issues.   She has been endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee.   She is supported by some large companies, such as Northrop Grumman and Merit Medical Systems, but the largest share of her donors appears to be individual conservatives.   She had $1 million cash on hand in early June.

McAdams is Mayor of Salt Lake County.   He has a degree in Political Science from the University of Utah and a law degree from Columbia Law School.  He was a Utah State Senator from 2009-2013, and he practiced law, was a Professor at Utah Law School and was Senior Adviser to the Mayor of Salt Lake City before that.   He says that, if elected, he’ll work to fix “broken DC” by working across the aisle and “putting people over party.”   He wants to fix Obamacare, not repeal it, negotiate with companies to reduce the price of their drugs and extend Medicaid in Utah.  He is critical of the 2017 tax cut bill because it favored the wealthy and added $1.5 trillion to the deficit.   He supports a Balanced Budget amendment to the Constitution.   He favors an all-of-the-above energy policy but wants to push for more renewable resources.   He does not say much about immigration, but he supports DACA recipients.   He touts his work on early-childhood education in Salt Lake County.   On the basis of some votes on abortion while he was in the state Senate, he has been accused of being pro-choice, a liability in Utah.  He has not addressed the issue in the sources I found.   CNN reports that he went undercover as a homeless man for three days.   He says he will not vote for Nancy Pelosi if he wins.   He does not live in District 04.   His contributors include Brigham Young University, University of Utah, a couple banks and labor unions.   He had $864,000 cash on hand in early June.

Description of District  This is a new district created after the 2010 census.   It extends from SW Salt Lake County (where most of the population lives), and includes a part of the city, south to central Utah, including the city of Nephi.   The district’s ethnic make-up is mostly White with a substantial number of Hispanics and low percentages of Blacks and Asians.  Household median income (HMI) is about $69,000, making it a fairly wealthy district when compared with other districts in the country.   Trump beat Hillary by about 7 points in 2016, but his margin was probably reduced by the presence of Evan McMullin (R) in the election.   McMullin won 22% of the vote.   The district has a Cook PVI of +13, but Cook rates the race only “lean R.”   A D won the first election in this district in 2012, but he retired after one term in Congress.

Summary: While Utah is overwhelmingly R, it has sent the occasional D to the House, although there is none there now.   It is also not a state that is highly supportive of Trump, especially on immigration.   McAdams is about as progressive as you can be and make a run of it in Utah.   A recent poll in the district shows the candidates neck and neck.   Deeply politically-experienced locally, he has a decent chance to win.  As he would be a distinct improvement over Love on most issues and is a D, he deserves our support.