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McAdams Campaign Says He's Ready For Parade Of Potential Republican Challengers

Congressman Ben McAdams
Kelsie Moore / KUER

As Republicans begin lining up to challenge freshman Congressman Ben McAdams, the democratic representative’s campaign says he is prepared for another tough race just six months into his first term.

“It doesn’t really matter to us who the opponent is — we always assumed we were going to have one,” said Andrew Roberts, McAdams’ campaign manager.

Republican Kathleen Anderson announced her campaign last week, and an Iraq vet named John Molnar has also launched a bid.

Anderson is a former secretary for the Davis County GOP and wife of Rob Anderson, whose one term as state party chair ended earlier this year. In her campaign announcement video, she calls herself a “conservative outsider” and refers to McAdams as “a politician who blindly follows an extreme liberal agenda over what is right.”

Molnar does not mention McAdams in a campaign video posted on social media. In the video Molnart says he is running “because I think the health care for the men and women who fight our wars should be good enough for those who start our wars” and ““because I swore an oath to uphold and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”idk,

Other Republicans including state Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, and Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie have also said they are exploring challenges against McAdams.

The 44-year-old Democrat from Salt Lake City narrowly ousted two-term Rep. Mia Love last year after winning the seat by 694 votes. Utah’s 4th Congressional District leans conservative and is a top priority for the GOP in 2020.

So the McAdams campaign isn’t too surprised that Republicans are already vying for the seat.

“The National Republican Party was recruiting somebody before Ben was even sworn into office,” Roberts said.

He added that McAdams has spent his first six months in office “finding ways to break that partisan divide and forge bipartisan agreements on the issues that I think every day Utahns are concerned about.”

Roberts pointed to McAdams’ vote last week for a $4.5-billion package to improve conditions at immigrant detention centers near the U.S.-Mexico border, and his opposition to a congressional pay raise earlier this year.

“This district does lean Republican, but Ben’s not one that’s all too focused on partisan politics,” Roberts said. “He does a really great job of putting people before party, and finding practical solutions to the things that matter to Utahns.”

McAdams is already stockpiling cash for another tough race. Financial disclosures for the first quarter of the year show he raised $308,053 — more than four times the amount Reps. John Curtis and Chris Stewart, Republicans who enjoy safer seats, pulled in during the same period. Curtis raised $65,850 between January and March while Stewart raised $68,503.

Rep. Rob Bishop, who has said this would be his last term, did not report any donations during the same period.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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