Ben McAdams reversed a string of bad news Thursday, opening his lead a bit in the too-close-to-call 4th Congressional District race to more than 1,000 votes after the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office updated its numbers.
With Thursday’s update, McAdams leads by 1,002 votes, with a new update out of heavily Republican Utah County expected Friday that could bolster two-term incumbent Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, in the race.
Love had repeatedly cut into McAdams' lead since election night, bringing the race to within 873 votes Wednesday. The new 1,002-vote margin now equates to 0.4 percent of all ballots counted in the district, putting the race margin outside the 0.25 percent threshold to request a recount under Utah law.
Dave Hansen, Love’s campaign manager, said the trends since Election Day favor the congresswoman.
“As Mia continues on this consistent trajectory, we are confident she’ll be re-elected,” Hansen said. “This is a long process and we appreciate everyone’s dedication to make certain every vote is counted.”
Election handicapper Nate Silver, founder of the website FiveThirtyEight, also saw the updated results as trending toward Love. In a series of tweets Thursday, Silver gave Love the upper hand, but noted the unpredictability of outstanding provisional ballots in the district.
“Love continues to outperform her Election Day vote in late-counted ballots,” Silver wrote, changing his ranking to “lean Republican” from “toss-up” Wednesday and “leans Democratic” the previous day.
Before Salt Lake County updated its results Thursday, County Clerk Sherrie Swenson appeared in court to respond to a lawsuit by Love seeking to halt the counting of ballots. Judge James Gardner ended the hearing without ruling on the lawsuit, which sought the ability of Love’s campaign to challenge the verification of voter signatures.
Andrew Roberts, McAdams' campaign manager, was critical of Love’s effort to intervene in the vote-counting process.
“Representative Love’s lawsuit to disenfranchise voters has come into clear focus with the results released today in Salt Lake County,” Roberts said. “This continues to be a close race and we are optimistic about the remaining votes.”