newsletter subscribe
So, Sen. Jim Dabakis is making noise about running for Salt Lake City Mayor and says he will make his decision this week.
 
There have been rumblings that Dabakis has been eyeing this seat for some time. I  heard lots of second-hand reports Dabakis wanted to run for Salt Lake City Mayor or, barring that, possibly a run for Governor in 2016.
 
This latest development is not surprising given Dabakis' penchant for attention seeking. 
 
The fight over same-sex marriage and a statewide non-discrimination law is over on the Hill. What else is left for Dabakis to do in the legislature? The Senate Democrats are even more marginalized than their House counterparts. They've been a complete non-factor in the big debates, especially healthcare, which is complete anathema to Dabakis' personality. 
 
He's at risk of getting bored, and I get the sense that Dabakis is not someone who tolerates boredom easily.
 
All of that being said, I think Dabakis would be a disaster as Salt Lake City Mayor.
 
He has a penchant for careening from one attention-grabbing issue to the next, abandoning it when the public spotlight dims. Look at his weak attempts this week to grab credit for President Obama's first visit to Utah. He had nothing to do with it. 
 
As Don Henley sang - "I was either standing in your shadow or blocking your light." There's no middle ground with him when it comes to the public eye.
 
In the Legislature, the impact of politicians who are brazen attention seekers is minimized because there are others around them who can do the work. As a member of the super minority in the legislature, Dabakis is responsible for nothing. He can stand back, be a bomb thrower with very little accountability. 
 
The tenure of Rocky Anderson is not remembered fondly by many in the city. While Anderson did many, many good things during his tenure, toward the end he was disinterested in the job, preferring to spend his time railing against the Bush Administration and tilting at other windmills. 
 
Dabakis has a huge personality, and he's very charismatic. Being the first openly-gay mayor of the city that houses the home of the LDS Church would bring him oodles of attention. Imagine how many times he would be on "The Rachel Maddow Show" as a guest. I'm sure he gets all a-tingly when he thinks about it.
 
It's worth revisiting the kerfuffle from last April when I reported concerns raised by some within the Democratic party that Dabakis' "Save the Tribune" website was harvesting email addresses to build an email fundraising list? 
 
Dabakis vehemently denied it, but low and behold, in May people who signed the petition started getting emails from Dabakis without ever agreeing to be on his list.
 
I believe Dabakis is more enamored with the idea of running for Mayor than the actual job. Given what I know about his personality, Dabakis would hate the day-to-day grind of running a major metropolitan city. 
 
He already has proven himself to be ineffective in running an organization. During his time as head of the Democratic Party in Utah, he raised a ton of money, but the Democrats got pummeled at the polls. What good is cash if your numbers are at near-historic lows? 
 
Then there's this. Dabakis resigned in 2014 from running the Democratic party because of health reasons. Can he withstand the grueling pace of a campaign and then four years at City Hall? A 45-day legislative session is punishing, for sure. But it's nothing compared to the full-time position of Mayor. Even the chairmanship of the Utah Democratic Party is not a full-time gig. He's going to have to answer the question whether he's up to the rigors of the job.
 
Here's my read on the situation. Dabakis desperately wants to be Mayor of Salt Lake City. He probably decided not to run when Jackie Biskupski announced she was getting in the race because they would both pull from the same pool of voters: hard-core progressives, LGBT residents, and those who want Becker replaced. A 1-in-4 chance of making it through the primary to the general election are not great odds, and Dabakis is smart enough to see that. Now, three months on, Biskupski is failing to catch fire with voters and not raising money. That has turned the election into a snooze-fest. 
 
Dabakis is an opportunist. It's served him well in the past. But it's a trait that would be to the detriment of Salt Lake City. Let's hope he understands that before we go too far down the track.