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Badger touts himself as ‘political outsider’ in 1st District US House race

By Tim Vandenack - | May 27, 2022

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Andrew Badger is a Republican hopeful for the 1st District U.S. House seat in Utah.

OGDEN — Andrew Badger, the 1st District U.S. House hopeful, likens himself to a scrappy underdog fighting the powers that be.

His chief obstacle, in his telling, is incumbent Blake Moore, the personification in his view of “the establishment.” Republicans Badger, Moore and Tina Cannon, a former member of the Morgan County Council, are vying for the Northern Utah U.S. congressional seat and face off in the June 28 GOP primary.

“Really, this election is between a well-funded establishment incumbent and a political outsider who’s relying on grassroots support,” said Badger, who garnered the backing of a majority of delegates at the Utah Republican Party convention in April, besting Moore by a 59.3%-40.7% margin. “The question of this election is whether grassroots supporters can defeat kind of establishment big money.”

Badger, a Utah native who’s resided in the 1st District since January, is positioning himself as the “America First” candidate leading up to June 28. He maintains that GOPers haven’t done enough to take on President Joe Biden and touts himself as unafraid to tangle with the administration of the Democratic leader. He’s also an ardent supporter of the policies and leadership of former President Donald Trump, who, as president, used the America First phrase in describing his foreign policy approach.

“There is an emerging political movement across the country which is kind of best captured in the term America First. This isn’t about President Trump directly. This is about the principles and policies which made our country successful under his presidency and which, if we follow, can make our country successful again,” said Badger. Trump’s election, he said, “was crucial for preserving American conservative values.”

The tenets of America First, he said, are assuring a secure U.S.-Mexico border, boosting U.S. energy production to “restore energy independence,” bolstering the U.S. manufacturing base to counter overdependence on China and, on the foreign policy front, avoiding “forever wars.”

“In Utah, I’m sort of the only candidate that identifies as an America First Republican,” he said.

Perhaps more significantly, Badger said the key messages of his campaign since the start have been fighting for “election integrity,” putting an end to COVID-19 vaccination mandates and standing up for parental rights in education. “Our current representatives, people like Blake Moore, weren’t fighting for those and there was a lot of frustration among the people of Utah, among the citizens of the 1st District,” he said.

Badger’s concerns related to elections stem from the 2020 presidential vote. He didn’t say whether he accepted the presidential results — many Trump backers incorrectly maintain that Trump actually won the vote — but charged that “censorship” of coverage of the Hunter Biden/laptop issue marred the process. “We can’t have free elections without freedom of information, freedom of speech,” he said.

“Big Tech” and “former government officials” maintained that the evidence in the Biden/laptop matter, which involves apparent business dealings in Ukraine by the president’s son, was “Russian disinformation,” Badger said. The issue came to the fore as the November 2020 presidential vote between Trump and Joe Biden loomed.

Now, though, information has emerged showing “that this was a real thing, that it spoke to material evidence of corruption in public office to our second-highest official, Joe Biden,” vice president under President Barack Obama, Badger said. That the information was “censored from the American people,” he went on, “is a form of election meddling.”

On foreign policy, Badger lamented the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine approved by Congress and signed into law by Biden on May 21. Moore voted for the measure along with the rest of Utah’s legislative delegation, except for U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, who voted no.

The Biden administration “has provided no clear goal or national policy objective in Ukraine,” Badger said. “So this $40 billion, I think, is not going to be used effectively. … And again, when the American people are hurting here at home from a broken border, unaffordable energy, food shortages, now is not the time to be just printing and sending money abroad with very little oversight and very little articulation of how that money is going to advance America security interests.”

‘I EARNED THEIR TRUST’

Badger lived in the United Kingdom before coming back to Utah and settling last January in Summit Park in Summit County, which is within the 1st District. He moved to Ogden earlier this month.

In the United Kingdom, he worked for McKinsey & Co., a management consulting firm. Before that, he was a civilian intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency, which brought him to Afghanistan.

Notwithstanding his status as relative newcomer to the 1st District, Badger notes his roots in Utah as a descendant of the original contingent from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that settled the state in the mid-1800s. He grew up in Utah, mainly in Utah County, but spent part of his childhood in Park City. Park City has been part of the 1st District, but is removed in new boundaries that take effect in 2023 per redistricting.

Even if his residency inside the district is limited, though, Badger said he’s earned the trust of residents of the 1st District, as evidenced, he says, by his strong showing at the Utah Republican Party convention, garnering nearly 60% backing, well ahead of Moore. Though Moore grew up in Ogden, within the 1st District, he now lives just outside the district in Salt Lake City, though U.S. House members are only required to reside inside the state they serve.

“Over the last near six months I’ve really earned the trust of the community. I think this was reflected in the results of the state convention. This was basically a three-month intensive job interview when we did one-on-one calls with each state delegate, with almost every delegate,” Badger said. “I earned their trust and that was manifested in the results of the convention.”

The winner of the Republican primary between Badger, Moore and Cannon will face off against Democrat Rick Jones in the November general election.

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