WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Blake Moore, R-1st District, displayed a maverick streak this week, splitting from the rest of Utah House delegation by supporting embattled U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).
But Moore rejects the idea that his vote for Cheney signals that he has failed some sort of GOP loyalty test.
“That wasn’t a conservative vs. non-conservative vote,” Moore said in an interview Friday. “That was a vote about what some members of the GOP caucus thought our leadership should be doing going forward.
“That vote got blown out of proportion in the media. But I would argue very strongly that it had nothing to do with conservative voting or legislation.”
Moore may be the only person in Washington who believes that. Cheney was ousted by her colleagues from the number three GOP leadership position in the House on May 12 in reaction to her recent outspoken criticism of former President Donald Trump.
Cheney was replaced as House Republican Conference Chair by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), an ardent Trump supporter.
Two inside-the-beltway journals, Politico and Roll Call, both suggest that Cheney’s removal from party leadership has created a new litmus test of loyalty to Trump for GOP politicians.
But Moore shrugs off that purely political controversy while defending his conservative credentials.
“You can look at my voting record and see that it’s strongly conservative …” Moore argued. “I’ve voted to oppose trillions of dollars of federal spending and (the controversial Democratic election overhaul) proposal. That’s what people need to pay attention to.
“But you can also see that I’m doing my part to develop relationships. That’s the key to getting things done, including joining bipartisan groups.”
How Moore’s bipartisan style will play in the Utah 1st Congressional District is still in question.
Recent events have indicated that Utah Republicans may be becoming more partisan. During the GOP state convention, delegates rejected a slate of leadership candidates proposed by Gov. Spencer Cox and others to elect insurgent candidates instead.
That same day, Sen. Mitt Romney drew catcalls and boos from convention delegates.
At a recent GOP meeting in Weber County, party delegates actually voted to censure Romney over his “vote of conscience” in Trump’s second impeachment.
Despite those developments, Moore insists that he’s on the right track in the 117th Congress.
“During the 2020 campaign — at every single debate, town hall or public meeting – people would ask me ‘how are you going to be someone who can actually get something done back in Washington?’” he explained. “They’d ask ‘why does it seem like people can figure out how to work together everywhere else, but not in Congress?’
“After hearing that sentiment over and over again, I’m not worried or nervous (about facing the people of the Utah’s 1st District).”
Moore said that he has already introduced “productive” legislation impacting natural resources and public lands that have a real chance of being enacted because they are jointly sponsored by allies he has made across the political aisle.
“The bills we’re proposing don’t have conservative or liberal implications,” he added. “Those kinds of things don’t make the evening news. But they do get thing done and you need a bipartisan approach to make them happen.
“I’ve had a very interesting time since joining Congress,” Moore laughed. “I’ve drawn ire from all sides of the political spectrum. I just hope that people will look at the entire body of my work and decide if they can support my approach, my conservative record and my efforts to get something done.
“Because that’s what I focus on.”