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Find KUER's reporting on the races, candidates and more for Utah’s 2018 midterm elections. Click here for our graphics of the U.S. Senate race, 4 Congressional races and Utah ballot initiatives.

Democrats Ben McAdams and Jenny Wilson Avoid Primaries

Nicole Nixon

Democratic frontrunners Ben McAdams and Jenny Wilson clinched the party nomination in their respective congressional races.

McAdams will face Republican Congresswoman Mia Love for the 4th Congressional District seat in November. Wilson’s Republican challenger will be determined in June, where Mitt Romney and state Rep. Mike Kennedy will compete for the GOP nomination.

Both Democrats faced progressive challengers from the left at the state Democratic Convention on Saturday. McAdams, who received support from 72 percent of delegates, is campaigning as a moderate Democrat who would reach across the aisle if elected to Congress.

In his speech to delegates, McAdams highlighted his work to reduce homelessness in Salt Lake County. He said he’s partnered with the state, law enforcement and treatment providers to tackle the problem.                                        

“But just when we needed federal support the most, the person with significant power to help never showed up,” he said. “Congresswoman Love has been an empty seat at our table of Utah problem solvers on every issue.”

Love has already been campaigning hard against McAdams. In her speech to Republican delegates last week, she tied the Salt Lake County executive to Hillary Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“I’ve been really disappointed to see how negative she’s been throughout this campaign,” McAdams said of the tactic. “I’ve kept my campaign on the issues and kept them positive and upbeat. People know my style and I really don’t think it’s going to work for her.”

In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic delegates picked Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson over three other candidates, awarding her 81 percent of the vote.

Though Wilson’s Republican challenger will be decided in June by Republican voters, she’s already campaigning against the frontrunner, former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Wilson accused Romney of “flipping and flopping more than a wet fish on a dry dock” and warned that he would “rubber stamp” President Trump’s agenda.

“The fight is here,” she said. “And I am prepared.”

Utah Democrats are optimistic about the blue wave — or “blue tsunami” as some delegates called it — having an impact in Utah’s 2018 elections.

Democrats nominated a handful of other candidates in federal races, while two Democrats in the 1st Congressional District will go to a primary.

Lee Castillo and Kurt Weiland will meet on the June primary ballot for the chance to challenge incumbent Rep. Rob Bishop in November.

In Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, Democrats nominated Shireen Ghorbani to challenge Rep. Chris Stewart. James Singer won the nomination in the 3rd District, where Republicans John Curtis and Chris Herrod will compete in a primary.

Democratic delegates also adopted a party platform and conducted other party business before adjourning just before 4 p.m. It was a stark contrast to the state GOP convention the week before, which lasted nearly 12 hours and was dominated by infighting and bickering over rules. 

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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