Never say never.
Fox13 Utah reported last night that GOP Rep. Mia Love has pulled ahead of her opponent, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, for the first time. Updated totals released on Friday evening from Utah County erased McAdams earlier 1,169 vote lead.
The latest figures show Love with 129,006 votes (50.08%) vs. McAdams with 128,587 (49.92%), a margin of 0.16%.
— Ben Winslow (@BenWinslow) November 16, 2018
By the end of the night on November 6th, McAdams was ahead with 51.4% of the vote compared to Love with 48.6%. At the time, both candidates had expected the race would be settled by the end of the week.
While it’s way too early to uncork the champagne, the Love campaign is encouraged by the latest news. Love’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said “This is just the start of Mia’s victory. We will continue to closely monitor the election results.”
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that McAdams has “spent the past week in Washington going to House orientation meetings and appearing in the freshman class photo with new lawmakers from across the country.”
The McAdams team claimed they weren’t surprised by the revised figures from Utah county because they mirror earlier trends. Love lives in Utah County and was expected to prevail there. McAdams campaign manager, Andrew Roberts, said, “We’re optimistic that when final numbers are reported Monday, Ben McAdams will again be winning.”
“Love sued Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swenson on Wednesday, seeking a halt to vote counting there to allow her campaign the ability to challenge the verification of ballot signatures. The parties appeared before Judge James Gardner on Thursday, and, on Friday, Gardner dismissed Love’s petition, finding no merit to its arguments.”
Throughout the campaign, Love distanced herself from President Trump. Of course, in a post-election press conference, he said “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”
He added that she called him “all the time” asking for help freeing Utahn Josh Holt, who had been imprisoned in Venezuela. “But her re-election campaign distanced itself from my administration, which led to her poor performance in Utah’s 4th Congressional District.”
The race is far from settled. With thousands of provision ballots still to be counted, it remains a coin toss. And if the race remains within the margin for a recount, which in Utah is 0.25 percent, it may be some time before a winner is declared.