“Congressman Ben McAdams has made good on his promise to serve Utahns as an independent leader who always puts his constituents first. I look forward to serving alongside Ben for years to come as he works across the aisle to get results for Utah families.” – DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos
To: Interested Parties
From: Brooke Goren, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: June 30, 2020
Subject: The Case Against Burgess Owens
After months of recruitment failures and Republican handwringing, tonight’s primary results in Utah’s 4th Congressional District set up a clear choice between an independent voice for Utah in Representative Ben McAdams and political commentator Burgess Owens.
On the campaign trail, Owens has made his support for President Trump the centerpiece of his candidacy. He has railed against the role of government in our education system and opposed protecting health care for the 333,900 people in UT-04 living with a pre-existing condition.
Utah Policy put it best earlier this month: Owens is “clearly the most partisan” candidate in this race, and his out-of-the-mainstream agenda is the wrong fit for moderate Utah voters.
In contrast, Rep. McAdams has spent his first term in Congress working across the aisle to get results for Utah families. He was even one of just 20 members of Congress recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to get things done. McAdams has worked with Senator Romney to protect Medicare and Social Security, pushed for bipartisan solutions to lower sky-high prescription drug costs and, after his own personal battle with the virus, has been a key advocate for Utah small businesses hurt by economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. It’s no wonder he has the highest approval rating out of the state’s members of Congress.
With over 20 times more cash-on-hand than Owens, McAdams has built the grassroots campaign and unique brand needed to win again here in November.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
HEADLINE: Romney, McAdams working to keep Social Security, Medicare from drying up [Deseret News, 10/29/19]
HEADLINE: McAdams joins bipartisan group warning about exploding national debt [Utah Policy, 6/10/20]
HEADLINE: McAdams votes to protect Utahns with pre-existing conditions [ABC 4, 4/04/19]
HEADLINE: Utah Rep. Ben McAdams awarded for willingness to ‘work across the aisle’ [KUTV, 6/09/20]
HEADLINE: McAdams calls for accountability as federal COVID-19 business loans go to those in need, and those who aren’t [Deseret News, 4/28/20]
“Rep. Ben McAdams is seemingly in a good position with voters in his 4th Congressional District as he aims for another term in Washington according to a new survey. McAdams, who is widely seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in Congress, has the highest approval rating of any of Utah’s House members…” [Utah Policy, 6/02/20]
“Even Republicans acknowledge that McAdams, who finished 2019 with $1.8 million, has cultivated strong business community ties and intimidated most top GOP prospects from running.” [Inside Elections, 3/27/20]
Burgess Owens: Out-of-Touch Partisan Peddling a Reckless Agenda
PARTISAN HACK VS. A CHAMPION FOR UTAH
To an everyday observer, it’s hard to know whether Burgess Owens is running to represent President Donald Trump or Utahns in Congress. Owens has made his support for Trump the cornerstone of his candidacy, spending his time on cable television praising the President rather than making his case to Utahns.
In fact, Owens is so committed to standing by the President that he’s willing to sacrifice Utahns in the process. When the Trump Administration proposed restarting nuclear testing last month, Owens voiced his support for the plan – despite concern from Utahns who are still dealing with the health consequences from testing upwind in Nevada decades ago.
While Owens’ unwavering loyalty to the increasingly unpopular president might play well with primary voters and Washington Republicans, it could be “Kryptonite” for his chances in this moderate district.
Owens’ partisanship stands in stark contrast with Rep. Ben McAdams, who has built a track record as one of Congress’ most independent leaders. Time and again, McAdams has proven that he is not afraid to call out members of his own party or vote against them when it makes sense for Utah.
OWENS IS A THREAT TO UTAHNS’ HEALTH CARE
With the coronavirus pandemic still impacting families across Utah, health care remains the number one issue keeping voters up at night – and Burgess Owens’ disastrous agenda isn’t going to give them any comfort. Owens has repeatedly said he would dismantle our entire health care system – a move that would end protections for 333,900 people in UT-04 with pre-existing conditions, leave millions of Americans without critical services, and no longer allow young people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Owens has pledged to cut Social Security and Medicare if elected, putting Utahns’ hard-earned benefits on the chopping block.
Meanwhile, Rep. McAdams has made fighting to lower health care costs a central piece of his work in Congress. He has voted repeatedly to protect people with pre-existing conditions and lower prescription drug costs, and worked with Senator Romney to preserve Medicare and Social Security – all while pushing for a balanced budget.
PUTTING UTAH’S FUTURE GENERATIONS IN JEOPARDY
When it comes to educating Utah’s next generation, Burgess Owens has a reckless vision that would cull out critical rungs on the ladder to success. On the campaign trail, he has advocated for cutting the Department of Education. He has spread conspiracy theories about higher education and supported letting lower performing schools fail rather than giving them the resources they need to improve.
Rep. Ben McAdams, on the other hand, knows that education is the great economic equalizer. In Congress, he has worked to ensure more Utah students succeed by introducing bipartisan legislation designed to “help first-generation, low-income and other nontraditional students enroll in and complete college.” Amid the coronavirus pandemic, he also helped pass legislation to provide student loan debt relief.
PATH TO VICTORY
Utah’s Fourth Congressional District is a moderate district that rewards moderate leaders. Burgess Owen’s years spent as a far-right commentator put him out of step with voters who want a representative who can bring people together towards common-sense solutions.
Since winning in 2018, Congressman Ben McAdams has solidified himself as an independent-minded lawmaker who will always put Utah first. As Mayor of Salt Lake County, Ben forged an independent profile and reputation for working across party lines to achieve real results. In Congress, he has taken the same approach, becoming one of the “first people ever” to receive an award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his willingness to work across the aisle to get things done.
Recent polling shows that President Trump remains unpopular in the district after winning with barely 39% of the vote in 2016. Owens refusal to put an inch of daylight between himself and Trump will be a liability headed into November.
Since 2018, suburban voters across the country have drifted even further away from Donald Trump and his party, making this 60% suburban district difficult for Republicans to win back with the President on the ballot once again.
Above all else, it is Rep. McAdams’ track record and ability to appeal to crucial independent voters and Republicans turned off by what they’re hearing out of Washington that makes this a lean-Dem seat.