SALT LAKE CITY – With little more than two weeks left prior to the November general election, Republican congressional candidate Blake Moore will be sidelined for nearly half of that time.
Moore’s campaign announced over the weekend that their candidate tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 7. All of Moore’s immediate campaign events were cancelled as soon as that diagnosis was confirmed.
From quarantine, Moore said he is suffering only mild symptoms of the coronavirus and expects to be back on the campaign trail by Saturday, Oct. 24.
With mail-in ballots already arriving at homes throughout Utah’s 1st Congressional District, the timing of testing positive for COVID-19 couldn’t be more inopportune for the Salt Lake City management consultant.
Moore is competing with Democrat Darren Parry of Providence to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop in Congress. In predominantly Republican Utah, the odds are strongly in Moore’s favor in the general election.
But Moore is a newcomer in Utah political circles, while Parry is well known as a former tribal leader of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. He is also respected by many Republicans as a moderate figure who reflects Utah values.
Although Moore has said that he prefers to campaign as if he were the underdog in the congressional race, recent polling seem to indicate that Moore enjoys a healthy lead.
According to the political blog FiveThirtyEight, an early September survey by Lighthouse Research in Salt Lake City found that nearly 50 percent of likely Utah voters favored Moore’s candidacy compared with 22 percent favoring Parry.
But that polling also indicated that about 28 percent of Utahns were undecided about the congressional race as recently as 30 days ago.
The two candidates have also since faced off in a Sept. 24 forum hosted by the Utah Debate Commission, during which Parry clearly distanced his opinions on many issues from those of the national Democratic Party.
The Republican’s campaign spokesman said that Moore’s wife Jane was the first member of his family to test positive for COVID-19. Moore and his three children became ill shortly after that.
FiveThirtyEight is a website created by survey analyst Nate Silver in 2008 that reports on opinion polling, politics, economics and sports.