Former NFL star Burgess Owens been declared the winner of the GOP primary for Utah’s 4th Congressional District.
The district is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams, who Owens will face in November.
The Super Bowl-winning conservative defeated three Republican opponents to win the primary.
With 67 percent of the votes counted as of early Wednesday afternoon, Owens had garnered 43.5 percent support, considerably higher than than his closest opponent, state Rep. Kim Coleman, who won 23.8 percent of the vote, according to The New York Times.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) July 1, 2020
“I think the district understands not only how important our vote is [but] that by being engaged this time around we can literally be the linchpin that saves our country,” Owens said Tuesday night, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The former NFL defensive back, who helped lead the Oakland Raiders to victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV in 1981, thanked supporters and shared a hopeful message on Twitter early Wednesday.
“I am so grateful for all the support we’ve received. Friends from across the country, countless hours from volunteers have united behind our message of the American Dream,” Owens wrote. “We are feeling good about the results we’ve seen so far, thank you for your support everyone!”
I am so grateful for all the support we’ve received. Friends from across the country, countless hours from volunteers have united behind our message of the American Dream. We are feeling good about the results we’ve seen so far, thank you for your support everyone!
— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) July 1, 2020
Owens, who has never held public office, ran on a platform of being a political outsider, and that message apparently resonated with his district’s Republicans.
— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) April 17, 2020
The former Pro Bowler, who is black, has positioned himself against national anthem protests, and also opposes reparations for slavery.
“If [NFL commissioner Roger Goodell] allows Kaepernick to come back, if they allow players to kneel during the national anthem, I’m willing to not watch the game,” Owens said.
“The only thing that can change the league is to change commissioners. This has been going on way too long, it is four years of this mess.”
In testimony before congressional lawmakers last year, Owens expressed vehement opposition to paying black Americans financial reparations for slavery.
“I do not believe in reparation, because what reparation does, it points to a certain race, a certain color, as evil, and it points to another race, my race, as one that has not only become racist, but also beggars,” he said, according to Yahoo Sports.
“I used to be a Democrat until I did my history and found the misery that party brought to my race. … Let’s pay restitution. How about the Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race?”
“And every white American, Republican or Democrat, who feels guilty because of the color of their skin, you can pony up also. Then we can get past reparations and recognize this country has given us greatness,” he told lawmakers.
The race for Utah’s 4th district is currently leaning in favor of McAdams, according to the Cook Political Report, but Owens has the next four months to make his case.
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