Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger won a third three-year term yesterday, defeating two independent challengers on Town Meeting Day.
The Democratic incumbent won 48.38 percent of the vote to win a third term. Independent challenger Carina Driscoll received 34.96 percent and Independent Infinite Culcleasure took 16.07 percent. The results place the incumbent mayor above the 40 percent threshold that would have forced a runoff.
Weinberger noted during his victory party Tuesday evening that it was a hard-fought campaign and he learned from his challengers. “I want to thank Carina and Infinite for their commitments to Burlington and acknowledge that because of their hard work and the work of their incredibly dedicated teams I have learned from each of them and I am heading into the next three years as mayor better equipped to serve the Burlington community because of our spirited debate over these past two months.”
During her concession speech, Driscoll cautioned the incumbent that his winning margin was not a plurality. “People showed up today in full force and weighed in and while the mayor won it was below 50 percent and I think he cannot go to work tomorrow without an awareness that he has got to change his perspective on who is in charge in this city and it is the people of Burlington.”
Wednesday morning, the mayor told WAMC he is pleased to have gained 48 percent of the vote following a tough race. “When you have three strong candidates it's very very hard to get to 50 percent. The fact that we came so close I think is a sign of the strength of this campaign as is the fact that we essentially had virtually the same number of votes as we had six years ago when we had a also had a tightly contested race. And I think that's a sign that we have kept the confidence of the people of Burlington. I think what you saw happening is new people being brought in who have a different vision and I think we do need to learn from that and think about you know how we come together as a community and keep moving forward.”
Seven Days Burlington political reporter Katie Jickling notes that while the mayor won easily, it may be because the other two candidates split votes. “Carina Driscoll was at multiple points throughout the campaign indicating that she was going to try to get Culcleasure to back her campaign and step back. He was having none of that. But certainly that would have likely been a much tougher race for Mayor Weinberger and I think not having a plurality may mean that he's a little more cautious going forward with some of his initiatives, that he may be more inclined to listen to some of the dissent or opposition than he might have otherwise been with a larger margin.”
Burlington City Democratic Party Chair Stephanie Young is excited to see Weinberger re-elected. “There were three good candidates who were running. Mayor Weinberger worked very hard and it shows that the voters wanted Mayor Weinberger back in office. You know he ran on his strong record of fiscal responsibility and a focus on affordability and the voters want to continue down that path.”
Audio from Tuesday’s speeches is courtesy of Channel 17 Town Meeting Television.
The city’s election division reports a 32 percent turnout on Town Meeting Day with 12,000 of 37,000 registered voters at the polls.