Okay, so the votes aren’t quite in – the final tally will be announced on 17th November – but while her competitor hasn’t conceded yet it appears that Jackie Biskupski has been elected as Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayor.
While both sides remain cautious as the postal ballots are still to be fully counted and verified, it’s expected that Biskupski will narrowly win the race against the current incumbent, Ralph Becker, who has been mayor for two terms.
Maryann Martindale, spokeswoman for Biskupski, said that her tear has been looking at the results so far, and that it looks as if there is no way Becker can make up the difference, although they appreciate why Becker isn’t conceding yet.
Slight uncertainty aside, it looks likely that Biskupski is going to be Salt Lake City’s first openly gay mayor, and only its second woman in the city’s top post.
Martindale commented that if her boss wins, it will show the rest of the US that Utah is a state where LGBT and non-LGBT people can work together in office.
She said: “If Utah can do it, anybody can do it.”
Utah is still often viewed as a largely conservative state, with the Mormon religion dominating. However, the LGBT population has grown rapidly in recent years to become the 7th largest LGBT population in the US. That’s a climb of 32 places in only 15 years.
Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis said, “Jackie is now an iconic gay leader. This is a great moment for Salt Lake City—we’re not the stereotype people across the country think we are.”
Talking to the New York Times in the run up to the election, Biskupski herself said: “There are those who want to hold me back because I’m a single mom. There are those who want to hold me back because I’m a lesbian. It says a lot about the people here and how we’ve evolved as a community that I am where I am today.”