SALT LAKE CITY — Incumbent Rep. Mia Love gained 2,522 more votes Friday than her Democratic challenger, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, in the latest counts in the 4th Congressional District.
But the two-term congresswoman still trails McAdams, 103,609 votes to 108,515, even through she added more votes than him in Utah, Salt Lake and Juab counties in new counts released throughout the day Friday.
"We were pleased to see the numbers today, but we are going to wait until every vote is counted," Love said in a statement. "Thank you to all of those people who waited in line for such a long time. You deserve better."
McAdams' campaign manager, Andrew Roberts, said in a statement that the campaign is "happy with the mayor's lead and look forward to seeing additional results next Tuesday."
Roberts praised the efforts by election officials to get a final tally for Tuesday's election.
"Election officials are working around the clock to process the remaining ballots," he said. "We appreciate their hard work and dedication to ensuring a fair and accurate tally of the votes."
Gov. Gary Herbert, who earlier this week slammed Utah County as the "epicenter of dysfunction" after voters had to stand in lines for hours there to cast ballots on Election Day, was less critical Friday.
"I think we want to make sure we get it right. That's more important than getting it quick. It would be nice if we could get both," Herbert told the Deseret News, especially in a race long seen as a toss-up.
"Right now it could be anybody that could win," the governor said. "We'll just wait until they count all the votes. So, the sooner the better, but I don't know that we'll know anything until next week now."
Herbert, a Republican, said President Donald Trump's declaration at a news conference Wednesday that Love lost her race because she distanced herself from him was "way premature, so he's wrong on that count. And he did try to help."
The governor said the last-minute telephone message Trump recorded for Love was "maybe a little bit of a rambling robocall. It was maybe not as effective or could be used as much. But I don't think there was really any impact Trump had."
Instead, Herbert said Love was affected by "how she was presented. I don't think her campaign people did the best job in getting her out there. She's has a lot to be proud of and done a lot of good things."
The 4th District race also ended up being "way too negative, on both sides," the governor said, bad enough that the eventual winner, whether it's Love or McAdams, will take office with a damaged image.
"I just think that negative campaigning is not necessary. They think it's an easy way. You spend a lot of money tearing down your opponent and they're both really good people," Herbert said.
Combined with the first results from Utah County since Election Day, Love is now 4,906 votes behind McAdams throughout the 4th District, with 48.84 percent of the vote to 51.16 percent for McAdams.
Love added 1,998 votes in Friday morning's updated count from Utah County, while McAdams went up by 722 votes. She continues to lead there with 12,811 votes to 4,505 for McAdams.
But in Salt Lake County, McAdams has 102,407 votes to Love's 84,923. She still managed to get 566 more votes than McAdams in the county where he serves as mayor, a total of 4,087 additional votes to 3,521 for him.
And later Friday, Love increased her lead in Juab County by 694 votes while McAdams picked up only an additional 14 votes there in an updated count. Overall, Love had a total increase of 6,779 votes Friday to 4,257 for McAdams.
The 4th District, which includes portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties as well as Juab and Sanpete counties, is one of just a handful of races for the U.S. House nationwide that is still considered too close to call.
Both campaigns have said they have a path to victory for the seat last won by a Democrat in 2012, when then-Rep. Jim Matheson defeated Love. After Matheson retired, Love went on to win the seat in 2014 and again in 2016.
Utah County, seen as key to the outcome of the election, saw long lines of voters waiting into the night on Election Day to cast ballots in person, leading the county to report Wednesday that almost 89,000 ballots remained to be counted.
It is not clear how many ballots in the 4th District race are still be be tabulated in Utah or the other counties. The next releases from Salt Lake and Utah counties are set for Tuesday.