OGDEN – A darkhorse candidate has emerged in the GOP race to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop in Congress.
Blake David Moore of Ogden was selected by delegates to the state Republican nominating convention to advance to the GOP primary on June 30.
“I’m thrilled to be moving on to the GOP primary ballot for the 1st Congressional District,” Moore said of his surprise convention victory. “As someone who served our country in the foreign and intelligence service for nearly a decade in both Washington D.C. and abroad, I know how to navigate the complexities of the federal government. I know what is vital and what is wasteful.
“And I know that I’m the best candidate to represent the 1st District in Congress.”
Moore will join Kerry Gibson on the primary ballot. The fact that Gibson was the favorite candidate of 53.3 percent of convention delegates raised no eyebrows. The Ogden native is a political veteran with experience in the state legislature, on the Weber County commission and in the Utah departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture.
But Moore getting the nod from 43.3 of GOP delegates came as a shock to political observers and to 10 other 1st District hopefuls eliminated by the online convention voting.
Rival candidates Mayor Katie Witt of Kaysville and Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson will also join Gibson and Moore on the primary ballot by virtue of having collected the signatures of 7,000 registered voters each.
Of those surviving candidates, only Moore has no previous political experience.
Moore is currently a strategist with the Cicero Group, a Salt Lake City-based management-consulting firm. His prior experience includes stints as a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department and operating his own consulting business in Singapore. He attended Utah State University and is a graduate of the University of Utah and Northwestern University.
“I am running for Congress because I am concerned about the lack of conservative leadership for the next generation of Americans,” Moore said in an April 22 videotaped pitch to convention delegates. “I am the strongest candidate to represent what got Utah and our country to where we are today … I am also the strongest candidate to ensure these conservative values have a strong future in our nation.
“I’ve watch as socialist ideas are given a huge platform and used as a tool to inspire my generation. This is not what got our country to where we are today. It is not what has fueled our recent economic growth and it is not what will take our country to the next level.”
Following his convention victory, Moore suggested that convention delegates may have respected his “straight talk.”
But delegates’ comments via Facebook chat revealed another factor that may have benefited Moore’s candidacy.
While waiting nearly three hours on April 25 for GOP state chair Derek Brown to release the final results of the convention voting, delegates’ online chatter indicated that many of them harbored considerable bias against candidates who hedged their bets by competing in the convention and collecting voter signatures to qualify for the primary ballot.
Witt and Stevenson, who both fell into that category, were eliminated early in the ranked-choice voting during the convention.
Moore was one of the few candidates in the 1st District race who had never declared his intent to collect voter signatures.