McAdams tops Love to flip another Congressional seat for Democrats

Ben McAdams stands with his family as he speaks at a news conference, Nov. 19, 2018, in Millcreek, Utah. | File photo by Steve Griffin/The Deseret News via Associated Press, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Democrat Ben McAdams has flipped a U.S. House seat by defeating incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mia Love by fewer than 700 votes in a race that took two weeks to settle.

Ben McAdams answers a question as he and Mia Love participate in a debate in Sandy, Utah, on Oct. 15, 2018. | File photo by Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News via Associated Press, St. George News

Final results posted Tuesday showed McAdams defeated Love by a margin barely over what would have been needed to require a recount.

The back and forth race in Utah had been too close to call for The Associated Press until the final votes were tallied. Election officials will certify the results Monday.

McAdams’ victory adds to the Democratic majority in a year when they’ve flipped more than three dozen Republican-held seats across the country to win control of the House of Representatives.

McAdams declared victory Monday night after a release of ballots gave him a margin his campaign believed was insurmountable.

“This race was about connecting with Utah,” he said. “This race was about who was best positioned to serve Utah and working to not get it caught up in a national, partisan election.”

Mia Love answers a question as she and Ben McAdams participate in a debate in Sandy, Utah, on Oct. 15, 2018. | File photo by Scott G Winterton/Deseret News via Associated Press, St. George News

Love did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He pitched himself as a solid moderate, and not a typical Democrat, while calling Love a partisan who almost always votes with the president. The strategy was aimed at independent voters who account for nearly four in 10 voters in the largely suburban district, and designed to overcome his built-in disadvantage in a district where registered Republicans in the district outnumber Democrats by nearly 3-to-1.

He is an attorney who graduated from Columbia Law School and practiced in New York before returning to his home state of Utah. He has been a political figure in the state for a decade. He was elected as one of the few Democrats in the GOP-dominated state Legislature in 2008 and successfully ran for the Salt Lake County mayor’s seat four years later.

He became known for working with the state’s Republican leaders on issues like homelessness, where he backed a narrow Medicaid expansion to cover treatment and once went undercover as a homeless person when the issue reached crisis mode downtown.

Though solidly conservative, Utah voters have long been uncomfortable with Trump’s brash style and his comments about women and immigrants. That anxiety is especially pronounced in the suburbs of blue-leaning Salt Lake City, and McAdams’ mayoral position gave him solid name recognition with voters.

McAdams said during the campaign he would not support California Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker and insisting he’d be able to work with the president.

He sharply criticized Love’s support for the GOP-backed tax overhaul and said she had not been available enough to her constituents at town halls.

He has already signed a letter along with 15 other Democrats vowing to oppose Pelosi.

Love pushed back hard, saying the tax overhaul has been good for people in Utah and defending her approach of meeting with voters in smaller groups, on the phone or online.

She highlighted the times she’s stood up to the president, like when Trump used an expletive to describe her parents’ home country of Haiti. She tried to separate herself from Trump on trade and immigration.

Trump didn’t appreciate her approach, calling her out by name in a news conference the morning after Election Day, where he also bashed other Republicans who he said lost because they didn’t fully embrace him.

This is the second time Love was locked in a tight, drawn-out race for this House seat. In her first bid for Congress in 2012, Love lost to incumbent Democrat Jim Matheson by 768 votes. She went on to defeat Democrat Doug Owens in 2014 and again in 2016.

Written by BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Comment November 20, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    bye Felicia

    All of you that voted against Mia are (to quote mesaman) “Racist!”.

    • KR567 November 21, 2018 at 5:30 am

      Old news already pfffft move on

  • youcandoit November 20, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    I voted for Mia. With all the election fraud going on, I hope Utah didn’t get caught up in it like Fl. TX and AZ just to name a few.

    • jh9000 November 21, 2018 at 4:36 am

      The only election fraud that took place was Trump being elected.

      • Cogent Cat November 21, 2018 at 12:58 pm

        Commies don’t like our Republic and the constitution that recognizes all states, not just the corrupt urban politicians and dwellers. Move to Russia, China, or some god forsaken place like Venezuala where your individual Democrat vote will keep under autocratic/totalitarian rule and mass poverty. My family escaped a communist country and people like you keep the evil going like a freakin deadly virus.

    • iceplant November 21, 2018 at 4:40 am

      My condolences.

  • jpff November 21, 2018 at 10:07 am

    McAdams claims he will not vote strictly democrat when in the House. It will be interesting to see how he votes on big issues where the Democratic leader demands 100% support for their side during the vote.
    He might turn out to be another Jim Matheson. If so, he will continue to win for years to come.
    And I have a feeling we will hear from Mrs. Love in the future. She has much to offer, and she will learn from her past, making her a better person when she seeks her next spot.

    • Comment November 21, 2018 at 11:53 am

      what does she have to offer? Will she be the black republican version of hillary clinton?

      • jpff November 21, 2018 at 6:44 pm

        That was a totally inappropriate comment by you. Mrs. Love lost the election because people were not totally happy with some choices she made in her votes, but to compare her to one of the most vile people to ever run for POTUS is wrong.

  • Cogent Cat November 21, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    No matter where you go, the Democrats leave their crappy socialist state and move to red ones and spread their nasty ideology like a bacterial virus.

  • vickbill November 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Let’s see. McAdams is white therefore he is a white supremacist who hates women and is a racist. Sorry I forgot he is a democrat and can’t be. Only white republicans running against a minority are. Why is it that any republican who has a narrow lead the day after the election never wins? Just enough votes are found for the democrat to win. Good to know the Chicago way of voting is sweeping across the nation “vote early and vote often.”

    • bikeandfish November 21, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Ugh, McAdams had the lead until last Friday if I remember right. And then it was reflective of the order of votes coming in not any final tally.

      And the important races that were all to close to call out east went Republican. Your narrative doesn’t hold water.

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