Kitchen jumps into Utah Senate race to replace Dabakis

Derek Kitchen (image via SLC Council)

SALT LAKE CITY – Councilman Derek Kitchen has announced he plans to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Dabakis.

In an email to supporters on Tuesday, Kitchen announced his intentions.

“I am running to be a strong voice for the residents of Salt Lake City in the Utah Legislature,” he wrote. “Many of the issues I’ve been working on in the City Council also need a champion on Capitol Hill.”

Kitchen is the second to publicly declare his plans to run in what’s expected to be a free-for-all among Salt Lake City’s liberals for a staunchly left-leaning district. Former University of Utah political science professor Tim Chambless has announced he’s running.

Sen. Dabakis surprised everyone on Capitol Hill by suddenly announcing his retirement.

Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City, who is retiring from the House, said she had been recruited by some Democrats to run for the open Senate District 2 seat. She told FOX 13 on Tuesday she still planned to leave the legislature and not run for Senate.

“I’m out,” she said.

If he were to be elected to the Utah State Senate, Kitchen would, ironically, serve in the same legislature that banned his right to marry. He was the lead plaintiff in Utah’s landmark lawsuit challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban that was later overturned by the courts.