'This election ends with voters saying loudly and clearly that they want Salt Lake City to keep moving forward together,' Mendenhall said
SALT LAKE CITY — Incumbent Erin Mendenhall was leading Tuesday in her reelection bid to continue as mayor of Utah’s capital in a ranked-choice contest that includes a challenge by former Mayor Rocky Anderson.
Mendenhall had a significant lead over Anderson, which led the former mayor to acknowledge that “it would take a lot of catching up to change the result,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported. But he hadn’t conceded as of Tuesday night.
At Mendenhall’s election night party, she told her supporters she would “regroup for a second term” with new energy and urgency, the Tribune reported.
“This election ends with voters saying loudly and clearly that they want Salt Lake City to keep moving forward together,” Mendenhall said. “Salt Lakers are not afraid of our incredible future. We’re excited by it. This election was a repudiation of cynicism, and it was a rejection of the politics of fear.”
The third left-leaning choice for mayor was Michael Valentine, an activist and business owner, who was a distant third in the results. Though the position is officially nonpartisan, the city is largely Democratic in a mostly Republican state.
Three of the mayoral candidates had a debate Oct. 24 that touched on several of the main issues: conserving water, fighting climate change, reducing crime and addressing homelessness.
Anderson, who served two terms from 2000-2008, has criticized Mendenhall for not doing enough to alleviate the rising cost of housing. He proposed mixed income housing built by the city to help solve the problem rather than Mendenhall’s approach, which involves working more closely with developers.
Mendenhall defended her approach as one that is showing results.
It is the first Salt Lake City mayor’s race since the capital, along with a number of Utah cities, instituted ranked-choice voting in 2021. The system allows voters to rank the three candidates, regardless of party.
If no candidate claims a majority, the candidate who finishes third will be eliminated and voters’ second- and third-choice picks will determine the winner.