The 44-year-old owner of two Blimpie sandwich shops didn't expect to be running for the U.S. Senate this year.
"But as anyone in politics knows, success is about 95 percent luck - being in the right place at the right time. This was an opportunity to step up to bat without having held other political offices first, so I took the opportunity."Meet Democrat Brian Moss - a man who trails Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch by 44 points in the polls, yet by no means is doing a post-mortem on the election. Not yet.
"Things can happen in politics; you never know," is the theory of the 6-foot-2-inch, strapping entrepreneur, who speaks from experience.
In 1976, Brian's father, Frank E. Moss who had 18 years of Senate seniority was defeated. That defeat, of course, was at the hands of Hatch, a political beginner 22 years younger than the elder Moss.
But Brian Moss maintains his campaign is no grudge match. Moss says simply it's time for a change - time for Democrats to unseat the conservative who toppled his father's political career and ended public life for the Moss family.
For most of his adult life, Frank E. Moss was in public service -
irst as a Salt Lake judge and then Salt Lake County attorney, before moving into politics on a national scope.
"But that was always normal for me," said Brian Moss, who from a very young age was on the campaign trail, brochures in hand. "Other kids' fathers were dentists or policemen; my father happened to be a judge and county attorney.
"I always knew it was a little more special because I had to mind my p's and q's a little more than most kids did because my dad was in public life."
Brian Moss was a year old before he met his father, the former senator who's now avidly stumping for junior.
Brian's mother, who conceived while her husband was on leave from the service, didn't want to needlessly worry her husband, fighting for his country in London during World War II. He learned of her pregnancy when a telegram from the American Red Cross arrived announcing the July 15, 1944, birth of their son.
The father-son bond has nevertheless been strong.
Although as a teenager Brian Moss attended Eastern schools, it was while serving as a page in the U.S. Senate that he learned the invaluable lessons of life. Along with his dad, his admired instructors included Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy and Everett Dirksen.
But Brian Moss' degree (in economics) came from the University of Utah in the summer of 1970 - just in time for him to become his father's alter-ego on the campaign trail.
That trail led him to Carol Brennan, a graduate of Dumbarton Oaks College, who on their first date assisted in a telephone fund-raising campaign for the Utah senator in the Democratic National Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel.
"We joke today that we may be on tape somewhere because those are the same Watergate offices bugged by the Nixon plumbers," the good-humored Moss said.
It was in Washington that Brian Moss accepted his first post-graduate position as director of Allied Youth Inc., a non-profit drug and alcohol prevention program. A pilot, Brian Moss flew his own plane around the country expounding the dangers of chemical use and abuse.
Then Carol, eager for a more routine life, "literally clipped my wings and she's got it on her finger to prove it." Revenue from sale of the plane went to purchase her wedding ring.
Two years after their 1972 wedding, Moss was on the road again - this time to pick up the pieces left by the Guatemala earthquake and the India floods.
His responsibility as special assistant to the director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, was to coordinate relief efforts between private voluntary agencies and the federal government.
"Unlike a lot of things where you do something and then a generation or two later there is some benefit, there were people starving, dying, freezing," Moss recalled. "What I did, and how efficient I was doing it, could literally mean life and death for people. Hopefully life."
Despite his ardent dedication to the cause, a green viper slithering toward Moss in the India floods convinced him that "they were not paying me enough for that job."
The jack-of-many-trades returned home, where he served as Utah director of the Four Corners Regional Commission, before becoming a restaurateur, travel agent and senatorial candidate - perhaps his toughest challenge of all.
"I kind of like to think I am friendly, get along well with people," he said. "But I am basically shy and have a little problem on the campaign trail trying to sound like I'm king of the mountain.
"I have some ingrained modesty; some say very well-deserved. It's hard for me to talk about myself as being great and wonderful, yet in politics that's what you have to do."
The candidate, whose campaign always has taken a back seat to piano recitals and football games of his four children, ages 7-13, says if defeated, "there will be life after the campaign for Brian Moss."
"I believe I have made some friends along the way, some people who are very supportive," he said. "Maybe there will be another opportunity, or maybe there won't be. Maybe I will go on to develop a sandwich chain that will span the country."