Becker’s Chances of Catching Biskupski are Basically Slim and None

Ralph Becker 03Say goodbye to Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker.

When all the 4,996 uncounted votes in the mayor’s race are counted for the Nov. 17 official canvass, it will show Becker just didn’t have enough umpphhh to catch up to soon-to-be Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski.

Thursday Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen announced that of the 24,000-odd uncounted votes in the county, 4,996 belong to Salt Lake City.

Add up the votes Biskupski got in Tuesday night’s unofficial tally, compare those with Becker’s Tuesday night’s votes, and you find that Becker would have to win 64.53 percent of those 4,996 votes to pass Biskupski by one vote in the final count.

That just isn’t going to happen, for previous mail-in ballot elections (admittedly, a small sampling) shows that uncounted votes may vary by 1 percent or a bit more from the regular Election Day voting patterns.

But usually not by the numbers Becker needs.

UtahPolicy pollster Dan Jones told UPD Managing Editor Bryan Schott just days before the election that the greater the voter turnout, the better for Becker – as the mayor was gaining on Biskupski in the final days.

But, predicted Jones, Becker would need turnout in the 60-65 percent range to have a shot at winning.

Becker didn’t get it.

By UtahPolicy’s count, 53.78 percent of city registered voters cast ballots in the mayor’s race.

Just under 200 city residents actually registered at the polls on Tuesday, got a ballot and cast it. Those “provisional” ballots will be verified and added into the total on Nov. 17.

But even if those ballots are for Becker, the mayor won’t reach 60 percent of the voter turnout Jones said he needed.

As it turned out, the uncounted votes in the mayor’s race made up about 15 percent of the total number cast.

And Becker needed a bigger showing the final day to catch up to Biskupski – who will be the city’s second female mayor and the city’s first openly gay mayor.

Becker was in Washington, D.C., Thursday at a meeting he’d previously committed to attend.

Ironically, one of Biskupski’s criticisms of Becker is that he spent too much time in D.C. and on other out-of-state visits.

Becker is a national leader in several mayoral/local government groups, and often met with President Barack Obama on local government issues.

What Becker will do after leaving office in early January is unknown.

Becker, 63, is by training a lawyer and planner; he operated his own planning/consulting firm, BearWest, which he shut down after first winning the mayor’s seat in 2007.