Salt Lake City elected its first openly gay mayor on Tuesday, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, with Jackie Biskupski beating out two-term mayor Ralph Becker by a slim margin—just 5 percentage points—according to an unofficial election night count. He still hasn't conceded the election, which won't be finalized until mail-in ballots are tallied in full on November 17, but if the results hold, Biskupski will become the second woman ever to serve as Salt Lake's mayor after Deedee Corradini.
Though outsiders may view Utah as a conservative, Mormon-dominated state, the city's LGBT population has skyrocketed over the past few decades. Out of the top 50 metropolitan areas in the US, Salt Lake has the seventh-largest concentration of LGBT residents, a recent study found. Back in 1990, it ranked 39th.
"Generations of LGBT people could've only dreamed of this," Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis told the Tribune. "Jackie is now an iconic gay leader. This is a great moment for Salt Lake City—we're not the stereotype people across the country think we are."
In her grassroots campaign, Biskupski, a Democrat, pushed for improved services for the homeless and increased transparency in city hall. She ran on a nonpartisan ballot as the "people's candidate," the Tribune wrote, a down-to-earth politician with ties to organized labor.
"There are those who want to hold me back because I'm a single mom," Biskupski told the New York Times before the election_._ "There are those who want to hold me back because I'm a lesbian. It says a lot about the people here and how we've evolved as a community that I am where I am today."