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One key Utah midterm race may tell us if hard red states can turn blue

Congresswoman Mia Love and Salt Lake County mayor Ben McAdams take part in a debate at the Gail Miller Conference Center at Salt Lake Community College in Sandy as the two battle for Utah's 4th Congressional District on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018.
Congresswoman Mia Love and Salt Lake County mayor Ben McAdams take part in a debate at the Gail Miller Conference Center at Salt Lake Community College in Sandy as the two battle for Utah's 4th Congressional District on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A key Utah midterm race may be an indicator of whether or not a hard red state can ever turn blue, NPR reports.

The details: Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams isn’t a traditional liberal Democrat. Rather, he holds several conservative values and touts them during his speeches and meetings with public voters.

The other side: Utah Rep. Mia Love maintains that she’s the true independent voice, even though she’s a Republican representative, according to NPR.

Bigger picture: Candidates like McAdams — who hold traditional conservative values but are running as Democrats — are one way the Democratic Party might win back the House of Representatives in November, NPR reports.

Flashback: This reminds me of my interview with FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver from around the 2016 election. He told me that Utah has all the makings of a blue state — it’s tech sector, education and immigration beliefs all lean blue — but the state remains red because of its desire to see Congress uphold traditional conservative values.