Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker will face a challenger after all. The Democratic mayor running for his second term this November has outrageously high polling numbers and until the very last minute to file for the race, he was running unopposed.
J. Allen Kimball, a 79-year-old Salt Lake City resident filed for the race at the last possible moment in opposition to Becker in the officially non-partisan race. Kimball told the Salt Lake Tribune that there’s no one issue that determined his decision to run for governor. He is a precinct chair for the Salt Lake County Republican Party but has never held any major office in the past. He did not return repeated calls from QSaltLake.
In a poll earlier this year by the Tribune, Becker had an approval rating of 84 percent. He has more than $180,000 in his coffers and an extensive grassroots campaign network that pushed him through close elections in the past. He is an ally to the LGBT community of Utah and has received numerous honors from the Utah Pride Center, including the Pete Suazo award. He helped sponsor a domestic partner registry with the city and helped push the non-discrimination ordinances through, making Salt Lake City the first municipality in Utah to protect against bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace and in housing.
“I hope to use the campaign as another opportunity to find out what issues are important for my constituents and continue to address those concerns,” Becker said.
Kimball was not recruited by the GOP to oppose Becker and he does not have any official campaign materials available, such as a website or Facebook page.