Thom Carter, executive director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership, speaks at a press conference reintroducing Utah Transit Authority’s route 500 Capitol Connector at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Carter, a Republican, is considering a run for the 4th Congressional District seat held by Utah’s only Democrat in Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
‘This is a competitive seat, but only if we have the right candidate,’ he says
SALT LAKE CITY — Thom Carter, a Republican considering a run for the 4th Congressional District seat held by Utah’s only Democrat in Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams, said Tuesday he’s being encouraged to get in the race by the national party.
He’ll decide by the end of next week, he said, whether to join a GOP field that includes state Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan; former NFL player Burgess Owens; former KSL Newsradio host Jay Mcfarland; former Utah GOP communications advisor Kathleen Anderson; and nurse practitioner Chris Biesinger.
“Since having the first conversation with the party right before Christmas we have been looking seriously at the run. We agree with the RNC and the NRCC that this is a competitive seat, but only if we have the right candidate,” said Carter, executive director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership.
Neither the Republican National Committee nor the National Republican Congressional Committee confirmed they have reached out to Carter. Torunn Sinclair, a spokeswoman for the congressional committee, said, “the NRCC does not comment on people we may or may not have met with.”
The only Utah candidate recognized so far by the NRCC as competitive, state Senate Majority Whip Dan Hemmert, R-Orem, dropped out of the race in mid-December. Hemmert was among around 70 congressional candidates nationwide named to the first level NRCC’s “Young Guns” program that provides campaign assistance.
Republican Mia Love, who held the 4th District seat for two terms before losing to McAdams in 2018, said last month that with Hemmert out of the race, she once again is toying with a run. Now a CNN commentator, Love said she wasn’t sure any of the remaining candidates could beat McAdams, but suggested more Republicans may run.
Chris Karpowitz, co-director of BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy and a Carter family friend, said the national GOP’s interest in Carter suggests it has concerns about anyone in the race being the right candidate to take on McAdams.
“Where the race is won or lost in the 4th District, is with the moderate Republicans and the independents. If there’s a moderate Republican who could peel off some of those voters who might otherwise be attracted to Ben McAdams, then that could be compelling to the RNC,” Karpowitz said.
The political science professor said Carter’s biggest challenge would be name recognition, but his work with an environmental group “is potentially really interesting as a background for a political run. Voters in Utah care a lot about air quality,” an issue typically associated with Democrats.
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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News