Perhaps acknowledging that Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker is closing on her as Election Day nears, especially with GOP voters, Jackie Biskupski has sent out a letter of endorsement from a dozen current or former Republican legislators.
A new Utah Policy poll by Dan Jones & Associates released Friday afternoon finds that Becker – seeking his third term – is closing on Biskupski, a former Democratic legislator (like Becker).
The poll shows Biskupski 2 percentage points ahead of Becker, who is within the survey’s margin of error.
Jones finds that GOP likely city voters greatly favor Becker – seen as the more moderate of the two candidates.
Biskupski is openly gay, and a previous Jones poll shows that among Republicans and active Mormons that alone makes around a third of them less likely to support her.
While many may see that as a bad thing, Biskupski through the new letter is making a move to either get GOP votes or dispel the belief that Republicans don’t support her.
It may be too little too late on the GOP front – as the letter hit mailboxes Friday and Saturday – the election on Tuesday.
And in this mail-in ballot election many have already voted.
Becker for months has been subtly courting city Republicans in the officially nonpartisan race, with TV ads and endorsement fliers showing leading GOP supporters – like former Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt.
Biskupski has been saying in her campaign that she was well respected on Capitol Hill during her dozen years in the Utah House and worked well with Republicans across the aisle.
Many of the dozen GOP endorsees in the letter are, admittedly, seen as moderates.
But there are a few well-known conservatives as well, including former Rep. Holly Richardson, R-Pleasant Grove – who is now a GOP blogger – and Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper.
The letter talks about how respectful Biskupski was with her colleagues.
It says while their politics and priorities may have at times differed, Biskupski was a fiscal conservative, always mindful not to waste taxpayer dollars.
She would do the same as mayor; the Republicans say – perhaps arguing against the idea that Biskupski would raise taxes and spend freely if elected Tuesday.
“We suspect it is unlikely that a Republican will become mayor of Salt Lake City anytime soon,” the letter reads. In fact, no Republican has held the nonpartisan office since the early 1970s.
“But that does not release Republicans from our duty as citizens to seek people of good will and character to serve in elected positions, regardless of party affiliations.”
While Republicans are in the majority – sometimes in vast majorities – in other geographic areas of the state, in Salt Lake City they make up less than a third of voters – with Democrats outnumbering them nearly two-to-one.
With no Republican in the final election Tuesday, those voters could clearly make the difference in the close race between Becker and Biskupski.