WASHINGTON — Rep. Ben McAdams conceded the race for the House seat in Utah's 4th Congressional District to Republican challenger Burgess Owens Monday.
McAdams said he had called Owens earlier in the day to personally concede the election.
After nearly two week of ballot counting, Owens currently leads incumbent McAdams by 2,095 votes with almost all ballots counted.
"I have done my best to thoughtfully and independently serve every citizen regardless of their political party or where they reside. I’m very proud of the service that I and my office have provided and of all that has been accomplished during the past 12 years for Utahns." said McAdams.
"I love this country. I love the fact that both the great-grandson of a slave– and the son of a single mother elementary school teacher– can run for office in this great country. Neither of us comes from money or power. We have differences in political philosophy and how we approach public service, but we both love our country."
Republicans spent the weekend congratulating Owens on his victory before the race has been called. President Trump sent a congratulatory tweet despite being angered over his own race against President-elect Joe Biden being called before he is ready to concede.
Owens' campaign released a statement in response to the news Monday night, saying:
“It was a hard fought race and I am grateful for Ben’s kind words, his service and desire for a smooth transition. I am eager and excited to work on behalf of every constituent in the district and continue to serve our community. It is time to get to work.”
The McAdams-Owens race was one of the most hotly-contested in Utah where nearly all races were called just minutes after polls closed on Election Day. Despite the loss, McAdams hopes the state and country can come together following a campaign season filled with misinformation and vicious personal attacks.
"With the election behind us, I see a need to come together and bridge our divides. I worry that extreme elements of both political parties interfere with our ability to find agreement on issues that matter to hard-working families," said McAdams. "I fear deliberate misinformation is too often unchecked and seen as truth in our society. This is a time for all of us to be engaged in civic affairs and to sort fact from fiction the best way we can."
Owens, a former NFL player, fought through allegations of illegal campaign donations, plagiarism and accusations that he supported the QAnon conspiracy group. A week before the election, The Deseret News removed an Owens political ad after they say it "fell short" of their standards.
Owens benefited from large turnouts in Juab and Sanpete counties where voters gave him a comfortable lead after McAdams led by more than 4,000 votes in Utah County and Salt Lake County alone.
FOX 13's Max Roth looked at the numbers by county and compared them to the 2018 election, when McAdams won against Republican incumbent Mia Love.
McAdams served just one term in the House after defeating Love. In his press briefing, McAdams said he is unsure of what he will do following the election loss.
"Despite the outcome of this election, I am blessed. I have a loving, supportive wife and a beautiful family. I live in the greatest state and country in the world. I have met– and have been inspired by– so many incredible Utahns who are making a difference in their community. The best part of this job has been listening to the ideas and concerns of so many, and doing my best to support and help them. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve.” McAdams said.