Utah’s 4th Congressional District is a battleground for national Democrats and Republicans. The incumbent, Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams won the seat by just 0.2% in 2018 and his seat has become a high priority for national Republicans to flip.
Four Republican candidates are vying to be the nominee to go head-to-head against McAdams in November.
Since Burgess Owens left the NFL, he has been working in sales and started a nonprofit that mentors kids coming out of the juvenile justice system. He said that work inspired him to run for Congress.
“The kids I work with, those that are at risk and those across the country, don't have a chance unless we get back the House,” Owens said. “The reason why our kids are at risk, with a lack of education, lack of job opportunities, lack of hope is because of policies put together by the Democratic Party.”
Owens also said that work would translate into a focus on criminal justice reform in Congress.
“Expungement is very, very important,” Owens said, “if you’ve shown yourself to be productive, you’ve shown yourself to be a positive to society.”
He’s also written several books about what he sees as the dangers of liberalism and socialism and over the last five years has talked about that as a guest on Fox News.
“Eight years of Obama did nothing but make things worse because he's a Marxist, he's a socialist,” Owens said. “His goal was to divide us, whether it be gender, color, size, wealth, age. That's what the Left does.”
Owens said the name recognition he’s gained from being on Fox has helped him in the 4th Congressional District race.
“The comments I made, the passion I have was post politics,” he said. “It was just me up there like everybody else … At that time, I was running a business initially and then running my not-for-profit. So it's real sincere.”
If he’s elected, Owens said one of his top priorities would be limiting abortions.
“We need to stop all funding for abortion centers,” he said. “Planned Parenthood has been a plague on our nation for decades. It's been a disaster for the black community.”
Owens said he would also push for things like waiting periods and ultrasounds before abortions.
A recent poll by UtahPolicy.com and KUTV put Owens in first place, with 36% of registered Republican likely voters saying they would vote for him.
The primary election is June 30 and will be conducted almost entirely by mail. The voter registration deadline is June 19.
To learn more about Owens’ positions — and to compare them to his opponents — check out KUER’s voter guide.
Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson