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Ogden mayoral primary results: Knuth and Nadolski will head to the general election

Sign welcoming vehicles into the city of Ogden, UT
Darren Cooper
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Ballot counting is still underway in the Ogden mayoral primary. The Weber County Clerk said his team will process the remaining ballots Wednesday morning and will update results no later than Thursday night, Sept. 7.

UPDATE, Sept. 6 @ 8:21 p.m.: In a stacked Ogden mayoral field, Taylor Knuth and Ben Nadolski will head to the general election, set to take place Nov. 21.

Both were leading out of Tuesday’s primary election as ballots were still being processed and counted. As of Wednesday, 99% of the ballots for Ogden mayor were tallied. A little over 31% of Ogden voters submitted a primary election ballot.

Knuth widened his lead on Wednesday. He ended the day with 1,997 votes. That was enough for his campaign to claim victory.

“Growing up with a single mother who worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, I was never meant to run for office, let alone win a primary election to be Ogden’s next Mayor,” Knuth said in a statement. “And yet, the people of Ogden have made their choice clear.”

Only 168 votes separated Knuth from Nadolski, the runner up. For his part, the current city council member believes he can “lead Ogden to a better future” as mayor.

“As we begin this next stage of the campaign, I look forward to connecting with more of our residents and gaining a better understanding about what they need from our city to be successful,” Nadolski said in a statement.

Out of the seven candidates vying for mayor, only the two with the most votes coming out of the primary election were eligible to move on to the general election. Ballots for the general election will start heading to voters Oct. 31.

Our original story continues below.

In a stacked Ogden mayoral field, Taylor Knuth and Ben Nadolski were the top two candidates leading out of Tuesday’s primary election. The race isn’t over yet as more ballots are still being processed and counted.

On primary election night, Knuth received the most votes, at 1,435 and Nadolski received the second most at 1,359. Not far behind Nadolski was Bart Blair with 1,319 votes.

Ricky Hatch, Weber County Clerk, said his team will process the remaining ballots Wednesday morning and will update results no later than Thursday night. But he doesn’t expect the uncounted votes to sway current results very much.

“It doesn't look like they're going to be any races that would likely flip or would risk flipping. There is one. I think Ogden City mayor between second and third,” he said. “But because the ballots we've received are such a high statistical sample that you would expect the results to be very similar to what is already there.”

Only two out of the seven candidates will move onto the general election set to take place Nov. 21. The belated Sept. 5 primary and the upcoming general election were the result of changes the Legislature made to accommodate the special election to replace Congressman Chris Stewart, who is leaving office this month.

The changes threw off the cadence of the normal municipal election.

Despite getting the most votes as ofon Tuesday, Knuth isn’t claiming victory just yet. He recognizes more votes still need to be tallied but said he felt “incredibly encouraged by the initial results” of the race.

“I trust the process and I look forward to seeing the final vote count,” Knuth told KUER.

Only 40 votes separate Nadolski from Blair. Nadolski knew from the start that it was going to be a tight race.

“We like where we're at right now,” Nadolski said. “Certainly, there's no guarantees [and] a lot more ballots to be counted.”

As of Tuesday night, voter turnout in Ogden was 23%. Hatch predicts by the time every ballot is processed, voter turnout will be around 31% and that’s pretty on par with municipal elections. But he’s surprised turnout wasn’t higher because of important Ogden races.

“Mayor and city council. Both those impact our daily lives. Sidewalks, streets, law enforcement, garbage, businesses,” he said. “All of that hits us every day. So it's really where we should be voting.”

Even though turnout isn’t as high as Hatch would like, he believes it would be in the teens or even in the single digits if it weren’t for vote by mail.

To Leah Murray, director of the Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service at Weber State University, “this is a big municipal election.” It’s a shakeup for the city. Ogden will be getting a new mayor for the first time since 2012.

The winner will replace Mayor Mike Caldwell, who has held the seat for more than a decade but decided not to seek a fourth term.

Voters selected from seven candidates:

  • Chris Barragan
  • Bart Blair
  • Angel Castillo 
  • Jon Greiner 
  • Taylor Knuth 
  • Oscar Mata 
  • Ben Nadolski

Even in a crowded race, the seven candidates focused on three main issues facing Ogden: growth, infrastructure and public safety.

Weber County, which encompasses Ogden, is projected to grow 60% by 2065. The boost in population, not to mention the growth that has already occurred, has spurred a tough conversation on affordable housing.

“We have a lot more people in Weber County than we have housing for. And this leads to major supply and demand issues, which makes prices obscene,” Murray said.

Each candidate has their own idea of grappling with the issue. Some, like current Ogden City Council member Nadolski, would like to incentivize homeownership rather than renting. He believes that could be accomplished by density bonuses and building various types of homes at different price points. Others, like Knuth, would like to invest more in first-time homebuyer programs that help residents secure a down payment.

Ogden’s infrastructure is also aging and that’s a topic the candidates have expressed interest in fixing. Jon Greiner wants to set aside more money to update water and sewer lines, along with roads and sidewalks.

Public safety has been another concern for a lot of the candidates. Blair, another current Ogden City Council member, believes the city needs to invest more money into public safety positions to retain employees. Angel Castillo has a similar idea – increase wages for fire and police workers. She would also like to expand homeless services outreach.

Saige is a politics reporter and co-host of KUER's State Street politics podcast
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