OGDEN — The crowded field of 12 GOP contenders for the 1st District U.S. House seat has been whittled to four.
The Democratic field, meantime, holds steady at two.
The statewide Democratic and Republican conventions culminated Saturday, helping finalize the list of hopefuls to appear on the June 30 primary ballots, thus setting the stage for campaigning over the next two months.
On the GOP side, Kerry Gibson, a former Weber County commissioner, won out, garnering 514 votes among the party delegates, or 57% of the total. Next came Blake Moore with 399 votes, or 43%; they both win spots on the GOP primary ballot. They’ll join Katie Witt and Bob Stevenson, who had each already successfully petitioned for places on the primary ballot by garnering signatures from 7,000 1st District Republicans.
“We want you to know that we are proud and excited to be able to take our message of having a proven conservative track record to each and every one of you in the primary election,” Gibson said in a video Facebook message after results came out early Sunday morning. “We look forward to sharing that message with you very soon.”
Darren Parry won in Democratic convention voting, garnering 55.6% of the vote, while Jamie Cheek finished second with 44.4% of the votes. Since neither surpassed the 60% threshold among party delegates, as with the GOP contenders, they face off again in the June 30 primary.
“With your support we won the vote at the convention, 55.6%-44.4%,” Parry said in a Facebook post after the voting. “We are grateful for your support and look forward to hearing your stories as we campaign throughout Utah’s 1st District.”
U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a Republican from Brigham City now in his ninth term, currently holds the 1st District spot. He isn’t seeking reelection to the seat, though, and is instead running as lieutenant governor on the ticket of GOP gubernatorial hopeful Thomas Wright. Bishop’s decision to forego another bid for the Northern Utah congressional spot led to the packed field on the GOP side, now narrowed from a dozen contenders to four.
As the primary campaign now moves forward, here’s what the candidates still standing had to say.
Kerry Gibson: “I am both humbled and grateful by the decisive victory in the 2020 state convention. Thank you to the delegates for their overwhelming vote of confidence in the process and in me. Our campaign is energized and ready to take our message to the voters in the 1st Congressional District,” Gibson said on Facebook on Monday. Gibson most recently served as commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food before stepping down to campaign for the U.S. House.
Blake Moore: “As someone who served our country in the foreign and intelligence service for nearly a decade in both Washington D.C. and abroad, I know how to navigate the complexities of the federal government. I know what is vital and what is wasteful,” Moore said in a Facebook post on Sunday. He went on: “Washington D.C. needs Utah values, and I’m running to ensure conservative leadership has a long future in our country.”
Moore grew up in Ogden and currently works for a management consulting firm in Salt Lake City.
Bob Stevenson: Stevenson, a Davis County commissioner, said Monday that he didn’t expect to win the GOP convention, having already secured a spot on the primary ballot via petition. Some delegates indicated they’d focus on other hopefuls at the GOP convention since he was already assured a spot.
Either way, the campaign for the House seat now broadens to Republicans across the 1st District. “The Republicans out there become more and more interested and want to see what the candidates’ messages are,” he said. Stevenson finished in sixth place at the convention among the 12 contenders.
Katie Witt: “I’m excited to be taking yet another step forward to represent the pioneers and patriots of Northern Utah in Washington,” Witt, the Kaysville mayor, said in a statement after the convention.
The Witt statement said she enters the primary “strong and ready to take her vision of preserving freedom, expanding opportunity and reigniting American patriotism across the district in creative, new ways.” Witt finished in eighth place at the convention.
The GOP candidates eliminated from the race are Tina Cannon, who finished third; Doug Durbano, fourth; Howard Wallack, fifth; Mark Shepherd, seventh; Chadwick Fairbanks III, ninth; Zach Hartman, 10th; JC DeYoung, 11th; and Catherine Hammon, 12th.
Darren Parry: Parry said he’s running as a moderate and, as such, “feels really good” about his chances heading to the primary. Delegates, he said, tend to be more progressive than Democrats overall in the district.
“I think being a moderate Democrat lines up more with the values of Utahns,” he said Tuesday. Likewise, now the campaign shifts from a focus on delegates to Democrats throughout the 1st District. Parry, from Providence, is councilman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, a Utah tribe headquartered in Brigham City.
Jamie Cheek: Cheek said she thinks she has the best shot at defeating Republicans in the November general election and flipping the 1st District, a relative Republican stronghold.
“If you believe that Democratic values are Utah values, and if you’re ready for UT-01 to have compassionate, empathetic, competent, accountable and Democratic leadership, then join us,” she said in a statement after the convention. “If you’re ready to elect the first woman to ever represent UT-01 and the only female Democrat running for Congress in the state, then join us. Now is the time to get involved and fight for what you believe in because together, we can and will take our advocacy for working people to Congress.”
Cheek, from Ogden, works in vocational rehabilitation.
The Republican and Democratic winners in the respective June 30 primary elections face off Nov. 3.