Mendenhall takes heated Salt Lake mayoral race after Rocky throws in the towel
Nov 22, 2023, 7:53 PM
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY — Erin Mendenhall is headed for a second term as Salt Lake City’s mayor.
Her office confirmed that former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, her primary challenger, called shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday to concede. The conversation took place not long after Salt Lake County officials released new election results, which didn’t change the direction of the race by much.
Mendenhall still leads the race with 58% of the vote to Anderson’s 34%. Community activist Michael Valentine is in third place with 7% of the vote.
“It’s an honor to be trusted to lead Salt Lake City for another four years,” Mendenhall said in a statement to KSL.com Wednesday evening. “I’m grateful to the county clerk’s office for working so hard to finish counting ballots before the holiday.”
Mendenhall all but declared victory when she spoke to a rambunctious crowd of supporters Tuesday night, The room roared earlier in the evening when the first batch of preliminary results showed she jumped out to a 59% to 34% lead over former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson with a significant number of votes already counted.
Salt Lake City is using ranked-choice voting again this year, a first in its mayoral race. That means a candidate needs at least 50% of the vote to win outright; otherwise, there will be one elimination before a candidate reaches at least half of the vote.
Her campaign ultimately chose not to declare victory until more results came in. Conversely, Anderson told KSL.com Tuesday night that it was “pretty clear” that he lost the race, though he did not initially throw in the towel.
“Mayor Mendenhall has prevailed,” he said, as his campaign party began to thin out. “I think the spread right now is such that the writing’s on the wall. I’ll hold out just in case something unexpected happens.”