SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's Democratic state Sen. Jim Dabakis, the state legislature's only openly gay lawmaker, announced Monday that he will run for mayor of Salt Lake City this year.

He joins a race already crowded with Democratic candidates. Current Mayor Ralph Becker, City Council Chair Luke Garrott and former state Rep. Jackie Biskupski are also seeking the position.

No Republicans have yet formed candidate committees in the mayoral race.

Dabakis said he decided to run for mayor to make a larger impact than he can in the overwhelmingly Republican statehouse. His senate term ends in 2018.

If he is elected mayor, delegates from Dabakis' district will meet to select a new senator, he said. Otherwise, he will continue to fill the statewide office.

Matt Lyon, a senior adviser for Becker's campaign, said the mayor looks forward to the dynamic Dabakis will bring to the race. After same-sex marriage became legal in Utah, Becker officiated at the marriage of Dabakis and his partner, noted Lyon.

A primary will be held on August 11 to narrow the field to two candidates for the November election. The candidates who earn the most votes in the primary will go on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.


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