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Knuth, Nadolski lead tight Ogden mayoral voting, some ballots still to be counted

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 5, 2023
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Election workers help process ballots in the Weber County Elections Office at the Weber Center in Ogden on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. The workers, from left, are Geraldine Christensen, in purple; Dakota Wurth, election specialist in the office; and Yvonne Berger, in white.
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According to preliminary returns, with more ballots still to be counted, the top three leaders in the Ogden mayoral primary so far are, from left, Taylor Knuth, Ben Nadolski and Bart Blair. Most of the ballots were released Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, but more are to be added to the totals on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023. The top two vote-getters, once ballots are all counted, move on to the November general election.
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According to preliminary returns in the Ogden mayoral primary, with more ballots still to be counted, Angel Castillo, top left, sits in fourth place. Jon Greiner, top right, is in fifth place; Oscar Mata, bottom left, is in sixth place; and Chris Barragan, bottom right, is in seventh place. The top two finishers move on to the November primary. Taylor Knuth, Ben Nadolski and Bart Blair finished in the top three spots in the returns released Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023.

OGDEN — Taylor Knuth and Ben Nadolski are leading the way in primary balloting in the race for mayor of Ogden, according to preliminary vote totals from balloting in the race.

Still, some ballots won’t be counted until Thursday, meaning there will be changes in vote totals for the hopefuls when those numbers come out, though it remains to be seen if any candidates shift places. The primary is serving to narrow the list of seven mayoral hopefuls to two, who will face off in the November general election. But with the top five contenders within 235 votes of each other, according to the first results, it’s a relatively close contest.

Voting ended Tuesday and below is a list of the seven Ogden mayoral hopefuls and the votes they’ve garnered so far. Once all ballots have been tallied, the top two vote-getters move on to the general election in the Ogden mayoral contest:

  • Taylor Knuth, 1,435, or 19.2% of the total.
  • Ben Nadolski, 1,359, or 18.2%.
  • Bart Blair, 1,319, or 17.7%.
  • Angel Castillo, 1,270, or 17%.
  • Jon Greiner, 1,200, or 16.1%.
  • Oscar Mata, 572, or 7.7%.
  • Chris Barragan, 281, or 3.8%.

Weber County Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch, who oversees the Weber County Elections Office, estimates that the results released Tuesday evening represent perhaps 85% of total ballots cast. With 7,466 votes tallied in the preliminary totals — 30 Ogden voters apparently didn’t cast ballots in mayoral race — that means maybe 1,300 more ballots have yet to be counted, doing back-of-the-envelope math.

The bulk of the outstanding ballots will be counted on Thursday and added to the preliminary totals released Tuesday night, when a clear picture of the race should emerge. Hatch estimates the numbers on Thursday will represent 99.9% of ballots cast.

Yet to be counted are mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday but received Wednesday or thereafter, the 100 or so ballots cast in person on Tuesday and ballots placed in drop boxes after 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Hatch said.

Mike Caldwell, the three-term incumbent mayor, opted not to run again this cycle, setting the stage for a crowded contest that was intense and, at times, testy. Issues brought up by the hopefuls variously included the power the mayor wields, economic development, the future of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, the city-owned Ogden-Hinckley Airport and more.

Nadolski and Blair are sitting members of the Ogden City Council while Greiner is a former Ogden police chief and Utah state senator.

Knuth, Castillo and Mata have run unsuccessfully for public office in Weber County before and they’re hoping to win election for the first time. Barragan is making his first bid for office.

Hatch said voter turnout in the four cities with primary elections — Ogden, North Ogden, Roy and Hooper — totals around 22% so far. In-person voting on Tuesday, he said, unfolded without any major problems.

Ogden voters also cast ballots in races for two City Council seats.


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