SALT LAKE CITY — One Democrat will soon be one step closer to the soapbox currently occupied by state Sen. Jim Dabakis.

And the odds suggest that it'll be Derek Kitchen, not Jennifer Plumb.

Kitchen had an edge, 53 percent to 47 percent, after nearly 10,000 ballots were counted in the Senate District 2 Democratic primary, one of the most closely watched of Tuesday's 18 state legislative primaries.

Early vote totals also revealed big disparities in some of the state's other primary races — which include 12 for the House and six for the Senate. Other races remained tightly knotted.

Kitchen said that "statistically, it makes sense" that the spread will likely hold until the official state canvass in two weeks.

For her part, Plumb said that she realized political veterans might not give her much of a shot at this juncture, but she wasn't quite ready to concede.

"It seems like the writing is probably on the wall," she said.

The District 2 seat has received an outsize share of attention due not only to its location in the state's capital city but also the profile of Dabakis, a famously outspoken and colorful voice for Utah progressives.

Kitchen, a current Salt Lake City Councilman, became fairly well-known himself as a plaintiff in a 2013 lawsuit — widely known as Kitchen v. Herbert — that successfully challenged the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

He has served on the City Council since 2016 and is a small-business owner, espousing a smorgasbord of progressive views on public lands, health care, affordable housing, clean air and marijuana legalization, among others.

Kitchen bills himself as a collaborator, not a bomb-thrower, and said constituents don't expect him to be a Dabakis replica — even if he and Dabakis are largely on the same page, politically.

"They expect us to look out for the underdog," he said. "I'll do it in my own way."

Plumb, a pediatrician and addiction recovery advocate, had achieved renown herself as the co-founder of Utah Naloxone, which widely dispenses kits with a drug that can reverse opiate overdoses. Like Kitchen, Plumb's key issues ran the gamut, and also included equal opportunity for women, animal rights and election reform.

"I have overwhelmingly positive feelings about my lessons learned running for office," she said. "The people I got to meet, the engagement I got to have, the issues that I listened to."

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Dabakis, who had endorsed Kitchen, said Tuesday that his district is one of a handful in the state where a gay candidate could conceivably be elected, and he was hopeful that Kitchen could take his place as the Legislature's sole openly gay member.

Having gay members of the Legislature is "a really valuable contribution to representative government," he said. Dabakis said he recently met a boy in Utah County who said told him that he follows politics, but as the only gay boy in his town, he paid particular attention to what Dabakis was doing.

Other races of note Tuesday included the four-way race to replace retiring Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City, with Jen Dailey-Provost getting 35 percent of the early votes for a 2-point lead over Igor Limansky. Republican Scott Rosenbush awaits the winner in the general election.

And Republican incumbent Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, got two-thirds of the vote against former Utah GOP Vice Chairman Phill Wright, securing his place on the November ballot opposite Democratic challenger Courtney Jones.

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