Utah’s 4th Congressional District is more winnable than the Georgia 6th ever was

Jeff Swift
Jul 12, 2017 · 5 min read

The District

Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, or “UT4,” the most winnable Congressional seat for Democrats in Utah, was created in 2012 and was originally held by Democrat Jim Matheson.

Georgia’s 6th has been in Republican hands since Newt Gingrich first won the seat in 1979 (and no Democrat had won more than 38% since). UT4, on the other hand, elected a Democrat in 2012 and then brought in tallies of as much as 48% for Democratic challenger Doug Owens.

Utah vs. Trump

Utah has never been very excited about Trump, with independent Evan McMullin earning a whopping 21% of the vote in the state. As Trump and his antics have continued unabated since Election Day, his numbers in Utah have steadily decreased, hitting 45% in June after hovering around 50% in April 2017. This is shocking for a deep red state like Utah.

Donald Trump’s signature policies aren’t winning him many fans in Utah, either. Trumpcare isn’t popular in the state, particularly considering the fact that many young Mormon families rely on Medicaid, and Utahns generally have an ethic of caring for the poor and sick.

Trump’s refugee ban flies directly in the face of the Utah-based Mormon Church’s concerted effort to help refugees, and Trump’s anti-family immigrant rhetoric directly contradicts the State’s popular “Utah Compact,” which favors care for immigrant families over draconian deportation or demonization.

Darlene McDonald

“You don’t get to where you are then … close the door behind you” -Darlene

Enter Darlene McDonald. A tech expert at Oracle, Darlene and her husband Michael are raising 7 children. Her ability to personally connect with people over complex policy issues has already turned her into a regular speaker at rallies and marches across the state.

Her short speech about health care has resonated particularly well in Utah. Darlene’s leadership on this issue is especially impressive considering that Mia Love, the incumbent in UT4, supported Trumpcare and its devastating effects on Utah’s families:

Darlene has also received significant positive coverage in the media, including a feature piece in Utah’s largest newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune:

McDonald’s path is formidable against a well-financed, two-term incumbent representing the conservative 4th Congressional District. Love has more than $300,000 in available campaign cash, and she’s one of the state’s highest profile politicians. Her campaign declined to comment on McDonald’s bid.

McDonald, who is raising seven children with her husband, Michael, says the three issues she is mainly concerned about are health care, education and immigration. One of her sons is on the autism spectrum, she said, and she worries about cuts contained in Trump’s budget blueprint and the millions who may be dropped off health care rolls if the GOP succeeds in repealing and replacing Obamacare.

McDonald added that she was inspired by the immigration story of Love’s parents coming to America from Haiti, but that Love has now embraced changes that would hurt immigrants seeking the same future.

“You don’t get to where you are then run and close the door behind you,” she said.

Darlene has shown the ability for developing strong arguments in support of her progressive platform, framed in Utah-centric terms. For example, her Trumpcare opposition goes beyond personal attacks on the president and instead focuses on the concrete effects of the policy on Utah’s families:

If we tell some families they aren’t worthy of health insurance, we are prioritizing something else above the family.

Maybe we’re prioritizing wealth above the family: “If your family doesn’t make enough money, you don’t deserve the medical care you need.”

Maybe we’re prioritizing the bottom line above the family: “If your family is so sick that you’re going to cost an insurance company a lot of money, we’ll let the insurance company cap your family’s yearly or lifetime expenses.”

Maybe we’re prioritizing ideology above the family: “Just because every other industrialized country in the world has figured out how to guarantee health care for their nation’s families doesn’t mean that the American government should too.”

Honestly, it doesn’t really matter what we prioritize above the family. When we neglect the sanctity of the family in favor of something else, we have made a decision about our priorities.

Darlene McDonald is a thoughtful and polished candidate ready to take on Utah’s political establishment. Representative Love is so comfortable in her incumbent status that she hasn’t held a single town hall in her district since Inauguration Day. It’s time for UT4 constitutents to have a voice in Washington again.

I’m working to help Darlene win in 2018. Join the campaign today and help us take this winnable seat back:

Donate through ActBlue.

Sign up to support the campaign.

Thanks to erinobin

Jeff Swift

Written by

PhD in Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media. Democracy junkie. Father of three.

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