Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Salt Lake City Elects Lesbian Mayor and Gay City Councilman

(Tribune file photo) Salt Lake City mayoral candidate Jackie Biskupski.
While the election results in Houston and Kentucky are very disappointing - the finger pointing on the Houston loss has already begun - two total surprises have come out of Salt Lake City, home base of the anti-gay Mormon Church: if the unofficial results hold up, the city will have a lesbian mayor and a gay city council member.  Making it all the sweeter, the new city council man is Derek Kitchen who, with his now-husband Moudi Sbeity, was one half of one of three couples that won their challenge to Utah's gay marriage ban before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.  Here's what Kitchen posted on Facebook:

Thank you! Thank you to my family for standing next to me through this campaign, for my volunteers for putting in countless hours knocking on doors, making calls, and talking to their friends. Thank you to all my supporters, your enthusiasm, donations, and moral cheers really kept me going. This has been such a positive experience for me as a first time candidate for public office. I’m happy to say that we ran a clean campaign focused on the issues and the residents of this great city.

I feel honored that the residents of District 4 have put their faith in me to represent them and make important decisions on their behalf. I’m energized and excited to get to work on the Salt Lake City council as your next representative!
As for the mayoral race, here are highlights from  the Salt Lake Tribune (let's hope the uncounted ballots confirm Biskupski's win):
There remain several thousand uncounted provisional and mail-in ballots in Salt Lake City's mayor's race, leaving the door open for Mayor Ralph Becker to pull off a come-from-behind win — although such a scenario appears unlikely.

Tuesday's unofficial and incomplete results gave Jackie Biskupski a 52.1 percent to 47.8 percent lead over Becker. They are separated by 1,450 votes out of 33,717 counted — 46.8 percent of registered voters in Salt Lake City.

According to Utah law, the new total will be sealed until the Nov. 17 canvass.

Tuesday night Biskupski said that Becker's 4.3-point deficit was statistically "insurmountable." When she announced at her campaign celebration that Becker would not concede, her crowd of supporters groaned and booed. 

Until Nov. 17, the discussion of Biskupski's possible election as the first openly gay big-city mayor in the deeply conservative, Mormon state are on hold. 

"In a couple weeks," she said, "I'm confident we will have a chance to talk about how historic this is."

Biskupski said she recognized from the beginning that she would lose votes for a number of reasons, not limited to her gender. "There are people who would not vote for me because I'm openly gay," she said. "There are people who would not vote for me because I'm a single mom."

Nonetheless, it's possible to get elected in a conservative state based on your merits, Biskupski told reporters Tuesday night.

"Not my gender, not my sexual orientation," she said. "It matters that we embrace people for their ability to lead and affect change."

Her likely victory says something about Utah, Biskupski said.  "We have a reputation here, right? But ... this community continues to move forward in strides that are mind-blowing," she said. "I'm so proud of our community."
In some ways I am not surprised by Utah.  Jon Huntsman  is one of the few sane Republicans left and he was a popular governor in Utah.  The fact that he is sane is why he failed to gain traction in 2012. That said, what could be more delicious than a lesbian mayor in the Mormon Church's home town. :)

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