Just ten days after announcing his candidacy for Salt Lake City Mayor, Sen. Jim Dabakis dropped out of the race Wednesday, endorsing his one-time rival, Jackie Biskupski.
Dabakis posted his support for Biskupski on his Facebook page saying:
"It is a fair question to ask why I decided to support Jackie now and not nine days ago. Truth is, sometimes one doesn't see the beach clearly until one gets into the water. I have a strong conviction that the city needs new energy, vision and enthusiasm and that Jackie is the one who can best provide that."
That endorsement seems schizophrenic after emails obtained by UtahPolicy.com show Dabakis offered his full support to current Mayor Ralph Becker's re-election in December of last year. Becker officiated at Dabakis' marriage in December of 2013, the day a federal court struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage.
In an email dated December 28th, 2014, Becker sent an email to Dabakis asking for his support. The email acknowledges Jim may want to speak with Biskupski before endorsing, as she was readying to enter the race around that time as well.
"First, thank you for your indication of support when we spoke on the phone. It has been quite a year with your great marriage, which I was honored to officiate, and progress on other important fronts. I hope you'll be able to support me in my re-election bid.
"I am hoping to connect with you by phone again, but I understand you are traveling out of the country. As my campaign for re-election is gearing up, we are collecting endorsement to release near the beginning of next year. I know you wanted to reach out to Jackie, but it would be incredibly meaningful if the campaign could include your name on that list. Please let me know if that is ok."
The next day, Dabakis sent an email back to Becker indicating he would support Becker in his quest for a third term.
"Ah Ha. The old 'I married you, how can you not endorse me' strategy? LOL.
"It worked. I am supporting you for re-election.
"Use my name. Not sure it will help a lot in fundraising in Utah County.
"I think you are a terrific mayor, and I am grateful to you for running again. I marvel that you keep your eye on the ball and don't appear to get distracted by all the falderal swirling about."
In the space of 106 days, Dabakis went from fully supporting Becker, to challenging him to dropping out of the race then endorsing a rival.
Dabakis was aware of Biskupski's impending campaign at the time he offered his endorsement to Becker. Biskupski told UtahPolicy.com on December 15 she was likely to enter the race, which was two weeks before Dabakis backed Becker.
Matt Lyon, the strategist for Becker's campaign, said of Dabakis' flip-flop, "Jim is Jim. We wish him well in his next endeavors."
A call to the Dabakis campaign seeking comment about his endorsement reversal was not returned.