GOP's Mia Love takes lead in Utah House race as count continues

A Republican incumbent congresswoman from Utah pulled ahead of her Democratic opponent by several hundred votes Friday, gaining her first lead in the House contest since Election Day.

After the latest tally, U.S. Rep. Mia Love, 42, held a razor-thin 419-vote lead over Democratic challenger and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams for the state’s 4th Congressional District, FOX13 Utah reported.

The two-term incumbent had previously trailed McAdams early Friday afternoon by 1,169 votes before the release of updated numbers from Utah County, the station reported.

McAdam’s campaign has called the Utah County results “unsurprising,” saying they track with earlier voter trends.

“We’re optimistic that when final numbers are reported Monday, Ben McAdams will again be winning,” McAdams’ campaign manager, Andrew Roberts, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

McAdams, confident of victory, had spent the past week in Washington, attending House orientation meetings and even appearing in the freshman class photo, the paper reported.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Democratic candidate for Utah's 4th Congressional District, speaks to supporters during an election night party, in Salt Lake City on Nov. 6. (Associated Press)

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Democratic candidate for Utah's 4th Congressional District, speaks to supporters during an election night party, in Salt Lake City on Nov. 6. (Associated Press)

The lingering doubt over the vote’s outcome didn’t stop President Trump from calling out Love by name in a news conference last week where he bashed other fellow Republicans. Trump said Love and others lost because they didn't fully embrace him.

Love "showed me no love," Trump told reporters.

But with thousands of provisional ballots still to be counted, the race for the 4th District’s House seat remained closer than ever.

Love, who became the first black Republican woman elected to Congress in 2014, maintains a 0.16 percent spread over McAdams, well within Utah’s margin for a recount, which is 0.25 percent, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

“This is just the start of Mia’s victory,” said Dave Hansen, Love’s campaign manager. “We will continue to closely monitor the election results.”

Earlier Friday, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Love, which sought to block counting ballots in Salt Lake County by challenging the signature verification conducted by the county clerk, FOX13 reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.