SALT LAKE CITY — Blake Moore and Bob Stevenson are separated by just over 800 votes in their bids to be the Republican nominee for the 1st Congressional District, according to primary results released Wednesday around 3 p.m.
Moore has 30.3% of the ballots cast to Stevenson’s 29.4%. Other Republican candidates in the race remain behind, with dairy farmer Kerry Gibson holding 24% of the vote and Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt with 17%.
Wednesday’s results only slightly widened Moore’s lead.
The 1st Congressional District seat is open for the first time in nearly two decades with the retirement of Republican Rep. Rob Bishop — Utah’s longest-serving congressional member. The district covers a large part of northern Utah, Summit County and extends into the Uinta Basin.
On Wednesday afternoon, Matt Lusty, Moore’s campaign manager, said their team feels “really optimistic and really excited and energetic.” He hopes their momentum will continue into Thursday.
“There are a lot of votes left to be counted and we clearly want everyone to be able to cast their vote. We are looking forward to what comes,” he said. “We understand there’s a big number of ballots that have not been counted in Weber County, which obviously gives us some optimism because in the early returns we were doing well.”
Stevenson, a Davis County commissioner, acknowledged the closeness of the race and said his campaign is sitting back waiting for additional results to be released.
“We are just like everyone else. Watching to see it come in,” he said. “All of us here are in the same boat.”
In the Democratic race, Darren Parry has 53% of the vote while Jamie Cheek received 47%, according to Wednesday afternoon results. A Democrat has not held the 1st District seat for 40 years, but Cheek and Parry are both hoping to win a spot on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Parry, former chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, currently serves on the tribe’s council.
“Just really happy to be in the lead right now but I think there are quite a few votes that still need to be counted and so will just patiently wait for those, but it’s always better to be up than down,” Parry said Tuesday night.
Cheek, a first-generation college graduate and a Utah State Office of Rehabilitation district director, said Tuesday night her team is continuing to watch ballots come in.
“Democrats are heading into the general election stronger than ever and we are confident, despite the current uncertainty, that we will be the campaign to secure the nomination and flip this district in November,” she said.