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Darren Parry wins Democratic nomination in 1st Congressional District

He will face Republican Blake Moore in effort to replace retiring GOP U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop

SHARE Darren Parry wins Democratic nomination in 1st Congressional District

Darren Parry speaks during a 1st Congressional District Democratic debate at the PBS Utah studios on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Darren Parry, former chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, has clinched the Democratic nomination for the 1st Congressional District and will face businessman Blake Moore in the general election.

“I feel like for the first time in 42 years we really have a chance to win or I wouldn’t have gotten in it,” Parry said about flipping the seat blue. “I didn’t get in it to take second or come close. I got into this thing to win.” 

Parry, who is currently on the tribal council of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, beat challenger Jamie Cheek, a Utah State Office of Rehabilitation district director, by 441 votes, according to Wednesday’s updated vote tallies posted on elections.utah.gov.

Parry received 50.97% of the vote to Cheek’s 49.03% in the June 30 primary.

Cheek conceded Wednesday afternoon.

“It has become clear that, however close it may be, the votes are not in our favor. This is not the outcome we hoped or worked so tirelessly for, but that doesn’t take away from what we have accomplished,” Cheek said in a statement. “We ran the most progressive, forward- thinking campaign in the history of Utah’s 1st District, and we moved the needle on important issues.”

Cheek is originally from rural Wyoming and is a first-generation college graduate. Her platform emphasized accessible, affordable health care for all, lower tuition at tech schools to bolster access to educational resources, protecting Utah’s public lands and climate change.

“It’s now time for me to leave this race,” she said. “But I will never leave this powerful movement we have built. I will never leave my community, the people who continue to live without access to proper health care, the children who suffer from poor air quality and the teachers and students that are facing steep funding cuts.”

The Associated Press declared Moore the Republican nominee Monday. Moore, who is a former foreign service officer, leads Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson with 30.9% of the vote to 28.6%.

He and Parry will go head to head in the November general election to replace retiring GOP Rep. Rob Bishop. The district covers a swath of northern Utah, Summit County and extends over to the Uinta Basin.

Parry said he looks forward to a “high energy and positive” campaign against Moore, who he described as a “great kid.”

While a Democrat has not held the seat for around 40 years, Parry, a moderate, believes this could be the year that changes.

“I’ve always said that we hear from the far left and the far right. Those two camps are loud, they are boisterous, they let their opinions be known and that’s what we see on the media a lot,” Parry said. “I feel like there’s a huge section of people that live in the middle, me included, that are tired of politics as usual and it’s just time that we change the narrative, change the hate speak, change how we do things and actually sit down and listen.”