Brian Moss hopes for a good day Saturday, a day in which he can eliminate Joe Cwik in the Utah Democratic Party Convention and take his fight for the U.S. Senate unfettered to Sen. Or-rin Hatch, R-Utah.
But Cwik sees things differently. He believes he can get 31 percent of the state delegate vote and earn a primary against Moss.Cwik, a retired FBI agent from Cedar City, has an enormous challenge at the convention. The party hierarchy is not-so-quietly supporting Moss, the son of former U.S. Sen. Frank Moss, whom Hatch defeated in 1976.
State Democratic Party Chairman Randy Horiuchi said he'd like to see Cwik earn his stripes at the local or state level first before embarking on a race of the magnitude of the U.S. Senate and taking on a political war horse like Hatch.
In addition, Moss is an articulate, even impassioned, speaker who will appeal to delegates. And Moss has public opinion polls on his side to show that a primary election would likely end in a Moss victory, so why should Democrats waste the time and money of an intraparty fight?
But Cwik will have none of that talk. He refused Horiuchi's suggestion to run for lower offices and has stayed in the race despite the odds.
"This isn't an ego trip," Cwik said. "I think I can be an excellent senator. I'm running strictly on my rec-ord." Cwik said he's disappointed in the job Hatch has been doing. "I think he's lost touch with Utah."
Although he has been working the telephone hard and traveling the state contacting old friends from his law enforcement days, Cwik has made only a ripple in the public opinion polls.
Dan Jones & Associates, the pollster for the Deseret News and KSL-TV, found that if the primary election were held today, Cwik would get only 5 percent of the vote, Moss 42 percent, 5 percent would go to someone else and 49 percent didn't know. Every registered voter can vote in a primary election, but usually primaries are dominated by independents and party loyalists. Among Democrats, Jones found 5 percent favor Cwik, 59 percent Moss, 1 percent would vote for someone else and 35 percent didn't know.
Jones didn't poll the Democratic state delegates themselves, but it is clear from the general public's reactions that Moss does have a real chance at getting 70 percent of their vote Saturday and eliminating Cwik from the race.
Cwik hopes he can convince the delegates that he is a logical alternative to Moss, who he says was hand-picked by the party hierarchy. If Cwik can survive the convention and force a primary, he sees it allowing more people to participate in the candidate selection process.
Cwik knows he lacks name recognition _ for now. But, he said, if a campaign was only about name identification, he'd change his name to George Washington. "When we talk about the electorate, we're talking about a sophisticated bunch of people," he said.
He promises to run a frugal campaign _ 99 percent of which he figures will come out of his own pockets. "I haven't asked for any money to this point." He said he's put in about $6,000 so far and has spent about $1,200.
"The way I see it, if you've got $10 to spend on me, you're better off spending it on your own family. Besides, if you take something from someone, I've always felt they want something in return. The only currency I need from the people are their votes," he said. "I know it sounds crazy, but then a guy has to be crazy to get into this in the first place."