SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A surprise announcement has turned the race for Salt Lake City mayor upside down.
Incumbent mayor Jackie Biskupski is out, setting up a situation we haven’t seen in decades for Utah’s capital city.
The announcement comes with the election just months away.
“I have come to the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2019 Salt Lake City mayor’s race,” said Biskupski.
Citing family reasons, the mayor is out after her first term.
You have to go way back to find the last time that happened.
“We tend to have mayors for a pretty good period of time in Salt Lake City, that’s just the reality. It’s been 47 years since we have had someone serve only one term in this position,” said Jason Perry, with the Hinckley Institute of Politics.
Even though the mayor was trailing in the polls, Perry says her departure changes the dynamic.
“It is hard to unseat an incumbent, that is just the reality. But, the polls have not been great for Mayor Biskupski for a little while, which gave a little bit of a window for people to jump in; and, now that she’s out we are going to see more people come forward,” said Perry.
The Hinckley Institute and the Salt Lake Tribune teamed up for a poll on the race early last month.
It had the mayor at 14%, trailing former state Senator Jim Dabakis at 26%.
Followed by state Senator Luz Escamilla 6%, former city councilman Stan Penfold 6%, David Ibarra 3%, and David Garbett 2%.
Perry says at this point, Dabakis is still in a commanding position.
“He has sort of a larger-than-life personality. People know him already and when it comes to the big issues impacting the city, he’s pretty well informed. There are other great candidates that are trying to get their name out there as well, but right now, he’s one that comes with money and name ID ready to go,” Perry said.
Many candidates have already announced they are in but the official declaration period for the race is June 2-7, 2019.
The primary is Tuesday, August 13, 2019.