In a stunning reversal from election night, State Sen. Luz Escamilla erased a 109 vote deficit to pass former Sen. Jim Dabakis by 421 votes after the second wave of ballots were counted Thursday afternoon.
Escamilla now sits in second place in the hotly contested race to replace outgoing Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. If the current results hold, she would advance to the November election to take on Salt Lake City Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall and Dabakis would be out of the contest.
Escamilla said in a statement following the release of the latest vote totals, “We knew we had an aggressive field game to get out the vote and these results show our hard work paid off. We’ll be waiting for the final canvass report, but we feel good about where we are at.”
Another round of votes will be released on Friday afternoon.
Mendenhall increased her lead with the new batch of ballots, increasing her total by more than 2,500 votes over second place, putting her in a strong position heading into the November general election.
Dabakis conceded the race via Twitter shortly after the latest round of ballots dropped saying “I lost! New votes counted. Greatest honor of my life to serve full time people of Utah and SLC for 8 years. I never compromised my principles! Congrats to woman.”
I lost! New votes counted. Greatest honor of my life to serve full time people of Utah and SLC for 8 years. I never compromised my principles! Congrats to woman. Stephen, we are going on that great vacation! #utpol
The November election is already off to a testy start as Mendenhall took a shot at Escamilla in a statement released following the updated vote totals.
“Senator Escamilla is a formidable fundraiser, but I think we’ve proven that you don’t buy votes, you earn them. Given a choice between a campaign driven by the community or driven by money, I’ll take our community every time,” she said.
November’s election will be the first time in Salt Lake City history two women will be on the ballot in the general election for mayor.
The results will be finalized by the Salt Lake City Council at their August 27th meeting.