SALT LAKE CITY — Utah will have a freshman Republican representative in the 1st Congressional District after Democratic candidate Darren Parry conceded the race to Blake Moore, who had nearly 68% of the vote to Parry’s 32% at 10 p.m. Tuesday.
Shortly before 9 p.m., Parry said he planned to call Moore to congratulate him.
“I went into this realistically with this being a heavily Republican district, and if you don’t have a lot of money, it is what it is,” he said. “I have no regrets, no regrets at all.”
The district is a Republican stronghold in Utah and has not been occupied by a Democrat in 40 years, when then-Rep. Gunn McKay, D-Utah, lost his bid for reelection to Jim Hansen as part of an enthusiastic wave of GOP support for U.S. presidential candidate Ronald Reagan.
Moore gave a victory speech at a statewide GOP event in Sandy.
“I was not expecting my name to be mentioned several times in a setting like this,” Moore said. “I have been smiling through my mask all night ... I just got a wave of humility and the gravity of this role. It is not something I take lightly and I am just so thrilled to be in this situation.”
He said he had the support of so many GOP incumbents like Rep. Rob Bishop and Rep. John Curtis, who offered to walk him through the intricacies of navigating an election.
Parry, former chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation and a current tribal leader, said he knew his path to holding the seat would be a tough one, but hoped that voters would embrace his moderate politics and his stated intention to serve as a bridge builder in an increasingly divisive and vitriolic Congress. He added he is willing to offer his support to Moore in the ensuing years as his rival tries to carve out his new role as a representative of the 1st District.
It is yet another example of civility demonstrated in the 2020 election cycle seldom seen elsewhere.
Moore will be the youngest member of Utah’s congressional delegation — at age 40 — and has said he brings unbridled excitement and passion to the possibility of serving Utah residents in one of the areas that is geographically and industrially diverse. Moore is a former Foreign Service officer who served overseas and domestically.
The 1st District is home to Hill Air Force Base, the Air Force’s second-largest base both geographically and by population and is the state’s single largest employer by site. It contributes an economic impact of $3 billion annually.
The base supports a thriving aerospace tech industry and elsewhere in the district, there are strong manufacturing industries like Procter & Gamble in Box Elder County and Fresenius Medical Care and Capstone Nutrition in Ogden.
In addition, Ogden was named by the Wall Street Journal as the center of outdoor sports gear in the United States.
The district also is home to eastern Utah’s oil and gas industry as well as the recreation destination of Summit County’s Park City.
Moore has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and later obtained a master’s in public policy and administration from Northwestern University.
He has worked with Cicero Group, a Utah-based management consulting firm, where he helped businesses grow and helped organizations solve complex problems. His role has been to collect information, analyze it, create a plan and then take companies through the change process.
Over the last three years, he worked extensively with George W. Bush Institute’s school leadership team to help school districts recruit, retain, and develop K-12 principals and administrators.
On his campaign website, Moore said he believes federal government should have a limited role in K-12 education.
The 1st Congressional district seat became open this election cycle for the first time in 17 years after incumbent Rep. Rob Bishop said he would not seek another term. Bishop rose to the powerful position of chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources and is now its ranking member.
He was Thomas Wright’s choice as lieutenant governor in an unsuccessful bid in the Utah gubernatorial election.