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Ogden mayor primary: Race is tight with thousands of ballots uncounted

An aerial photo of downtown Ogden with mountains in the background.
Downtown Ogden

The Junction City is on its way to having a new leader, with voters taking those first steps Tuesday to narrow the field of seven candidates to two.

According to unofficial preliminary results available Tuesday night, Taylor Knuth and Ben Nadolski are leading the Ogden field, with 23.27% of registered voters casting ballots. Those numbers will change in the coming days and the official ballot count likely won’t be finalized until later this week.

In a text message late Tuesday night, Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch said the county picked up around 4,000 ballots from drop boxes and anticipated getting roughly another 1,000 ballots from the post office Wednesday morning.

Around half of the roughly 5,000 ballots are for Ogden races, Hatch said, meaning there are plenty of uncounted votes in the race.

“(The) mayoral race margin is very thin,” Hatch said. He estimated that voter turnout in Ogden after the ballots are counted will be around 31%, and updates in the race will be made public sometime before Thursday evening.

The top candidates will head to the ballot in November, with the winner replacing current Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. He announced earlier this year he would not seek reelection.

[Related: Ogden mayoral primary: 7 candidates vying to replace outgoing Mayor Caldwell]

Ogden has seven total candidates running in the primary. Three candidates have been elected to office in the past, including current city council members Nadolski and Bart Blair and former Utah state senator and Ogden police chief Jon Greiner.

The four remaining candidates, some of whom have run for office before, include former mayoral candidate Angel Castillo, former Ogden City Council candidate Knuth, Utah Democratic Party vice chair Oscar Mata and small business owner Chris Barragan.

As of Tuesday night, the recent returns look like this:

Taylor Knuth — 1,435 votes

Ben Nadolski — 1,359

Bart Blair — 1,319

Angel Castillo — 1,270

Jon Greiner — 1,200

Oscar Mata — 572

Chris Barragan — 281

Recent financial reports show three candidates raised tens of thousands more than their counterparts — including two of the top contenders following Tuesday’s ballot totals.

Nadolski led all candidates by raising over $100,000 as of Aug. 29, which was the filing deadline for all candidates. As of the same date, Nadolski had spent over $72,000 of that total.

The next highest dollar amount was raised by Knuth, who garnered over $90,000 in donations and spent a little over $86,000 as of late August.

Rounding out the top three for funding is Mata, who raised over $74,000 over the course of his campaign. As of the August filing deadline, Mata has spent all but roughly $1,370 of those funds.

For the last four candidates, Greiner had raised a total of $42,000; Castillo raised just a shade under $27,000, Barragan raised just over $25,000 and Blair’s contributions totaled over $15,000.

Reporter Jacob Scholl covers northern Utah as part of a newly-created partnership between The Salt Lake Tribune and Utah Public Radio. Scholl writes for The Tribune and appears on-air for UPR.