Trent Staggs concedes Salt Lake County mayor’s race to Jenny Wilson

In this composite image, Republican candidate for Salt Lake County Mayor Trent Staggs, left, who is the current mayor of Riverton, waves at passersby in Taylorsville on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. At right, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, a Democrat, makes a short speech before placing her ballots into an official ballot drop box at the county offices in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020.

In this composite image, Republican candidate for Salt Lake County Mayor Trent Staggs, left, who is the current mayor of Riverton, waves at passersby in Taylorsville on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. At right, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, a Democrat, makes a short speech before placing her ballots into an official ballot drop box at the county offices in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. | Laura Seitz and Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — After days of trailing far behind Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson in election tallies, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs conceded the race Thursday evening after more results were posted, essentially closing any chance for him to catch up.

“With todays reported numbers it is clear that our campaign has come to an end,” Staggs posted on Facebook. “I have called Mayor Jenny Wilson to offer my congratulations and wish her well in her first full term.”

With todays reported numbers it is clear that our campaign has come to an end. I have called Mayor Jenny Wilson to offer…

Posted by Mayor Trent Staggs on Thursday, November 5, 2020

As of Thursday, Wilson maintained a strong lead with 54.5% of the vote to Staggs’ 42.6%. Wilson was ahead by 43,411 votes with over 363,000 ballots so far counted in the county mayor’s race.

Staggs wrote he was “incredibly proud” of the race and his campaign team, lauding their efforts and pointing to “significant headwinds including being out-spent by $200K and of course the partisan demographics of the county.”

“We’ve been told by many that we ran one of the most impressive races Utah has seen,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to secure a win.”

As mayor of Salt Lake County, Wilson is seen as one of the most powerful Democrats in Utah. The post continues to be an elusive target for Utah Republicans — a seat that Democrats have held onto for 15 years. Thanks to Wilson’s win, that will be 19 years if Wilson serves the entirety of her term.

Wilson, in a post on Twitter, said Staggs “graciously reached out to me this evening and congratulated me on winning the election.”

It’s an honor to serve the people of Salt Lake County and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together over these next four years,” she wrote in the post.

There was at least one victory for Republicans on Thursday, however.

Salt Lake County Treasurer Wayne Cushing, who was trailing behind Democratic challenger Michael McDonald in election night tallies, pulled ahead of McDonald.

As of Thursday evening, Cushing had 50.88% of the vote to McDonald’s 49.1%, ahead by 6,128 votes.

Other races, including contests for Salt Lake County Council seats, remained status quo. Democratic County Councilwoman Shireen Ghorbani was ahead with 51.9% to Republican Laurie Stringham’s 48.2%. Republican and former South Jordan Mayor Dave Alvord was in the lead of Democrat Deborah Gatrell with 54.5% for the District 2 seat. And Republican Dea Theodore led Democrat Terri Tapp Hrechkosy with 52.5% to 47.5%.

Election results will not be official until the canvass Nov. 17.

Katie McKellar

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