SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A third-party candidate in the hotly contested race for Utah's Fourth Congressional District has dropped out and endorsed Democratic incumbent congressman Ben McAdams.
At a news conference on Wednesday, United Utah Party candidate Jonia Broderick announced she was suspending her campaign and endorsing McAdams. She said she was doing it because she opposed Republican Burgess Owens in the race.
"Burgess Owens has embraced the politics of division by amplifying and supporting positions that are anathema to all but just the most hardcore, right wing enthusiasts," she said. "He has also chosen to engage in the language of hyperbolic false stereotypes meant to frighten to voters that don’t pay much attention to politics as a general rule."
The United Utah Party, which bills itself as a centrist alternative to Republicans and Democrats, has advanced a number of candidates in congressional and legislative races. The group is still trying to gain traction in Republican-heavy Utah, but Broderick dropping out may give a little more of a boost to McAdams' campaign in the swing district. He won his last election against Republican congresswoman Mia Love by nearly 700 votes.
Broderick said she hoped the GOP would have advanced a more moderate candidate, but that did not happen. So she was throwing her support behind the Democrat.
"Ben McAdams is already one of the most moderate voices in congress," she said. "He’s working across the aisle on issues large and small, it’s well documented. And he represents exactly what I’ve been fighting for throughout my campaign."
A message sent to the Owens campaign for comment on the endorsement was not immediately returned on Wednesday. But Owens scored his own high-profile endorsement: Republican gubernatorial candidate (and current Lt. Governor) Spencer Cox.