As if beating a five-term congressman wasn't hard enough, John Jacob said he has another foe working against him: the devil.
"There's another force that wants to keep us from going to Washington, D.C.," Jacob said. "It's the devil is what it is. I don't want you to print that, but it feels like that's what it is."
Jacob said Thursday that since he decided to run for Congress against Rep. Chris Cannon, Satan has bollixed his business deals, preventing him from putting as much money into the race as he had hoped.
Numerous business deals he had lined up have been delayed, freezing money he was counting on to finance his race.
"You know, you plan, you organize, you put your budget together and when you have 10 things fall through, not just one, there's some other, something else that is happening," Jacob said.
Asked if he actually believed that "something else" was indeed Satan, Jacob said: "I don't know who else it would be if it wasn't him. Now when that gets out in the paper, I'm going to be one of the screw-loose people."
Jacob initially said the devil was working against him during a Wednesday immigration event, then reiterated his belief Thursday in a meeting with The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board.
"There's a lot of adversity. There's no question I've had experiences that I think there's an outside force," he said.
University of Utah political scientist Matthew Burbank said Jacob's sentiment is unusual for a political candidate and might show his inexperience, but is unlikely to be a major issue for the conservative voters he is targeting.
"Given that, I don't think it's very likely to make a big splash among Republican primary voters, but certainly if he gets through to the general election it might come up again and he'd have to explain it more," Burbank said.
Jacob, who like Cannon is LDS, said he is not the only one who is being opposed by Beelzebub. He said both Cannon and Sen. Bob Bennett have lost millions of dollars since going to Congress, and he believes their adversity is rooted in the same dark origins.
Cannon's campaign would not address whether Lucifer is opposing either candidate.
"Chris would not attribute any adversities to any outside influence," Cannon's chief of staff, Joe Hunter, said regarding Cannon's diminished personal wealth since going to Congress. "I'm not sure that Chris would even call them adversities. It's a conscious decision on Chris' part to do what's important to him. There's been far more important events in Chris' life than his business."
Jacob explained that, when people try to do something good, there are frequently forces that align to stop them.
"We have a country that was created by our Heavenly Father and it was a country that had a Constitution and everyone who came to America had strong faith. If that can be destroyed that would be the adversity. . . . Whether you want to call that Satan or whoever you want to call it, I believe in the last eight months I've experienced that."