In Utah’s hotly contested 4th Congressional District, new campaign finance data show Republican nominee Burgess Owens has raised a whopping $2.5 million since July and has amassed more than $3.2 million in the election cycle to date.
That’s nearly 46 times more money than the median annual income for Utah households, according to 2018 income data provided by the state.
The numbers show Owens far outraised his opponent, freshman Rep. Ben McAdams, in the third quarter, and the candidate has spent a total of $2.4 million in his effort to wrest the seat from Democratic control.
Owens reports having a little over $1 million in cash on hand, putting him in a strong financial position heading into next month’s election.
“The strength of our fundraising is a direct result of our message,” Owens said in a news release announcing the campaign haul on Thursday. “Voters in our District deserve a Congressman that will represent their values in Washington every day. Ben McAdams talks a big game during an election year but when he flies back to Washington, he forgets where he came from and votes with socialist Democrats nearly 90% of the time. That is unacceptable for Utah.”
It’s unclear where the 90% figure comes from, but a ProPublica analysis show McAdams has voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 84% of the time. Owens' claims that his opponent is too far left have been a central component of his campaign, even as some measures show McAdams is one of the most moderate Democrats in the House.
A summary page of McAdams' fundraising data, which his campaign shared with The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday, shows he raised just over $1.4 million this campaign period and has brought in a total of $4.9 million overall.
McAdams has spent $4.3 million in his bid to keep his seat and has $634,493 on hand heading into the final weeks of the race.
In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday, McAdams said he was pleased with “the outpouring of support that we’ve received from right here in Utah that are supporting the campaign.”
“We always knew this would be a close race and we’re going to take nothing for granted and will work hard to get my message out to voters that I’m Utah’s most independent member of Congress," he said.
Owens, a frequent Fox News commentator and a first-time political candidate, has aligned himself closely with President Donald Trump throughout the race. And University of Utah political science professor Baodong Liu said in an interview earlier this week that the candidate has also connected to national Republican organizations as much as he could as part of his fundraising strategy.
“He used that as his primary approach to this competitive race and he did succeed in making the national media cover him and he was able to raise some money out of that as well," Liu said.
The new campaign finance numbers make Owens one of the top fundraising Republicans in the country. Still, McAdams has raised more overall, thanks to a head start in fundraising that began soon after his election to the House in 2018.
This year’s race between McAdams and Owens is expected to be among the most competitive in the nation. McAdams won his seat in 2018 by a margin of fewer than 700 votes against two-term incumbent Republican Rep. Mia Love, and recent polling has indicated this will be a close race as well.
Campaign finance records show Owens’ biggest haul of $136,425 came from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s “20 for 20 Victory Fund,” a joint fundraising effort for conservative candidates in Congress.
Republican candidates across the country have also stepped in to donate to Owens, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, both of whom pitched in $2,000 from their campaigns. The Citizens United Political Victory Fund gave Owens $5,000, while the National Rifle Association contributed $4,950 to his campaign.
The Republican candidate has received money from local politicians, too — including $5,000 from former Utah Rep. Mia Love, who lost the seat to McAdams in 2018, and $2,000 from Rep. Chris Stewart’s campaign.
About $1.16 million of the money Owens raised this quarter comes from small donations of under $200, while McAdams brought in $217,144 from small fundraising dollars.
- Salt Lake Tribune reporter Bryan Schott contributed to this report