Republican challenging Utah’s lone Democrat to speak at RNC

Burgess Owens looks on during a "Blue Rally" to support men and women of law enforcement on Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Owens, the Republican former football player who is challenging Utah's lone Congressional Democrat will speak at the Republican National Convention this week. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Republican former football player who is challenging Utah’s lone Congressional Democrat will speak at the Republican National Convention this week.

Burgess Owens tells the Deseret News he plans to speak about the hope that sustained him growing up Black in the segregated South in a five-minute speech set for Wednesday night. The former NFL player and frequent commentator on Fox News will tape the speech in Washington, D.C.

This convention will show that we are hopeful and moving forward and going to make some great things happen,” he said.

Owens has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and athletes taking a knee in support but said he doesn’t plan to speak about that in his speech.

The high-profile slot could give Owens a boost in fundraising for the race, an area where he lags behind Democrat Ben McAdams. He won the suburban Salt Lake City 4th District seat from another Black conservative, former U.S. Rep. Mia Love, two years ago in a razor-thin victory. The race is considered a toss-up this year.

Utah is sending a six-member delegation to the trimmed-down live event in North Carolina, including U.S. Sen. Mike Lee.

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