Deseret News composite photo
FILE - Even though his race to unseat Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, remains too close to call, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is in Washington, D.C., Tuesday for the start of the orientation program for new representatives.

SALT LAKE CITY — New vote updates Tuesday did little to clarify who won in the 4th Congressional District, as Democrat Ben McAdams' lead over incumbent Rep. Mia Love dropped from nearly 5,000 votes to just 1,229.

And even though the race is still too close to call, McAdams, Salt Lake County's mayor, is in Washington this week attending orientation for congressional freshmen.

Love, a Republican seeking her third term, continues to trail McAdams in the 4th District, which includes portions of Utah and Salt Lake counties as well as Sanpete and Juab counties. Three of the counties released new numbers Tuesday.

In Salt Lake County, Love added 4,722 votes to 5,059 for McAdams. But in Utah County, she gained 5,776 votes to 1,890 more votes for McAdams. In Sanpete County, Love added 213 votes to McAdams' 85.

Now, throughout the district, McAdams has 115,549 votes to 114,320 for Love. McAdams continues to hold the lead in the race with 50.27 percent of the vote to Love's 49.73 percent.

Salt Lake County is expected to continue to release results daily.

About 17,000 votes were added to the county's vote totals Tuesday out of about 76,000 that were outstanding, including some 16,000 provisional ballots. It is not clear how many remaining Salt Lake County votes are in the 4th District.

Utah County Chief Deputy Clerk Auditor Scott Hogensen said there's still approximately 27,000 votes to be counted, including provisional ballots. He estimated that about 1 in 7 of those votes are in the 4th District.

Hogensen said the next release of votes from Utah County will come Friday by 3 p.m.

Both campaigns remained optimistic as new numbers rolled in throughout the day Tuesday.

"The numbers are moving in the right direction and we are diligently watching for additional results," Love's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said in a statement Tuesday.

Love is said to be in Utah waiting for the race to be resolved.

McAdams' campaign manager, Andrew Roberts, said, ""The mayor's lead continues to hold and we remain optimistic about the final tally. We will continue watching results as they come in."

Roberts again thanked election officials "for their diligence and hard work over this past week."

Even though his race to unseat the two-term congresswoman has yet to be settled, McAdams is in Washington, D.C., Tuesday for the start of the orientation program for new representatives.

McAdams' participation in the orientation was confirmed by his campaign manager, Andrew Roberts.

The new lawmakers will meet through the week, take a break for Thanksgiving, and return Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. Utah's election results are set to be certified by counties on Nov. 20 and by the state on Nov. 26 at noon.

The freshman orientation for newly elected lawmakers set to take office in January includes information on hiring staff and running their congressional offices, according to The Associated Press.

Democrats gained at least 32 seats in the midterm election, regaining control of the House after eight years of Republican leadership. If McAdams wins the 4th District, he will be the sole Democratic member of Utah's congressional delegation.

The last Democrat to represent Utah in Congress was former Rep. Jim Matheson, who beat Love in the then-new 4th District in 2012. After Matheson retired, Love won the seat in 2014 and again in 2016.

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Even if the 4th District race ends up close once the final statewide vote canvass is complete on Nov. 26, there is no automatic recount in Utah, state Elections Director Justin Lee said.

Instead, it would be up to the losing candidate to request a recount by Dec. 3 if he or she is within 0.25 percent of the winner. Of course, to figure that out, the final vote totals will have to be determined.

"It does need to be a pretty close race," Lee said, noting 0.25 percent is not a "huge margin. That’s the tricky thing. We don’t know what the threshold is until we get the final tally of votes."