Republican Burgess Owens held on to a lead Thursday over incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams in Utah’s hotly contested 4th Congressional District. His lead narrowed only slightly to 1,616.
That’s compared to a 1,697 gap on Wednesday. Owens now has 47.47% of the votes counted and McAdams has 47.03%, keeping him ahead for the sixth day in a row after McAdams had the edge on election night.
Still, votes remain to be counted in the district that straddles Salt Lake and Utah counties and also includes voters from the much smaller counties of Juab and Sanpete. The final canvass won’t be completed until Nov. 17.
Owens' campaign spokesman, Jesse Ranney, said the campaign remains “eager to get the final count in and confident when it is that Burgess Owens will be representing the 4th District in Washington.”
McAdams' team noted that “thousands of ballots remain to be tabulated" and that Congressman McAdams came from behind two years ago and ended up as the winner. "
“We are awaiting the next update,” said Andrew Roberts, McAdams' campaign manager, in a written statement.
[Read more: Burgess Owens claims Democrats are trying to ‘steal the election’ in fundraising emails]
Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said in an interview that there is a potential for more than 13,000 ballots to be added to totals countywide, though she doesn’t know how many of them are from the 4th Congressional District.
More than 11,000 of the outstanding ballots are provisional ones that were cast in-person on Election Day by someone who had changed addresses or for some other reason wasn’t registered. Swensen hopes to have those tabulated by Friday afternoon.
Another 2,000 or more outstanding ballots are what are know as “cure” ballots. These were mailed or deposited in a drop box without a signature or with a signature that couldn’t be matched with the sample on file. Voters notified of one of these problems with their ballots have until noon Monday to resolve the issue, Swensen said.
A close race in this district was expected. In the last election, McAdams challenged Republican incumbent Rep. Mia Love and came away with a win of fewer than 700 votes.
Tribune reporter Taylor Stevens contributed to this report.