"I have a vision for our Capitol City and I look forward to a campaign of energy, enthusiasm, ideas and a competitive spirit. Our city only gets stronger and more vital as more people participate in the electoral process. A brawny discussion among a large number of candidates will be terrific! Lots of input and a competitive race will bring participation to our Salt Lake neighborhoods. Voters will be the big winners. A strong, open discussion on the issues over the next months is great for our city. We live in America, elections should not be coronations."
Dabakis resigned as the Chairman of Utah's Democratic Party in March of 2014 because of health reasons. Dabakis insists his health has improved enough for him to handle the rigors of a political campaign.
Dabakis is the latest challenger to two-term incumbent Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. Already in the race is former Rep. Jackie Biskupski and Salt Lake City Councilmember Luke Garrott.
Biskupski, who was the first openly LGBT member of the Utah State Legislature said in a statement:
"I entered this race knowing we had a path to victory. As a result of Jim’s candidacy we may make some strategic adjustments, but some things have not changed – I believe I am still the most qualified candidate and I expect to win."
Garrott's statement on Dabakis' entry into the race was a more confrontational, calling Dabakis a "loud character who is always seeking the spotlight." He also brought up Dabakis' health problems.
“I hope his entry means that Jim’s health has improved and I welcome him to the race,” Garrott stated. “With the mayor’s office a four year term, I hope Jim can stay interested in Salt Lake City–or anything–for that long.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Becker's campaign told UtahPolicy.com this about Dabakis' entry into the race.
"Mayor Becker has known Jim for a long time. He supported Jim's candidacy for State Senate and married Jim and his partner when same-sex marriage became legal in Utah. Ralph likes and respects him and welcomes the addition of another voice to the conversation.
Dabakis' fundraising prowess should make the race interesting. He pulled in $129,714 for his re-election bid in 2014. That will come in handy as Becker spent more than $240,000 on his re-election bid in 2011.