Kiss Wins in Instant Runoff Voting - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Kiss Wins in Instant Runoff Voting

Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss
Republican Kurt Wright Republican Kurt Wright
Democrat Andy Montroll Democrat Andy Montroll
Independent Dan Smith Independent Dan Smith

Burlington, Vermont - March 3, 2009

He was not the voters' first choice but Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss will get a second term in office. The Progressive was re-elected Tuesday night after two rounds of instant runoff voting.

After the initial vote count, Republican Kurt Wright was the leader with 32 percent of the vote. Kiss was second at 28 percent, followed by Democrat Andy Montroll and Independent Dan Smith.

Initial Round:

  • Kurt Wright (R) 2952 - 32%
  • Bob Kiss (P) 2585 - 28%
  • Andy Montroll (D) 2065 - 23%
  • Dan Smith (I) 1307 - 14%

But in Burlington you need a majority to win and after two rounds of IRV, it was Kiss on top with 51.5 percent to Wright's 48.5.

Final Vote:

  • Bob Kiss (P) 4313 - 51.5%
  • Kurt Wright (R) 4061 - 48.5%

The results meant parties on Church Street-- some happy, some frustrated. But whether they were victorious or not, all the candidates celebrated with their supporters.

Greeted by chants of "three more years," a victorious Bob Kiss began celebrating his re-election as mayor of Burlington.

"I'm really happy with the outcome," Kiss said. "Reflects three years of good work by people. Puts the city in a good position. It's a result of the hard work that we've done."

Kiss was initially losing the race after the first vote count. Republican Kurt Wright led with 32 percent of the vote. The progressive Kiss trailed with 28 percent. But after two rounds of the instant runoff voting system, Kiss prevailed with 51 percent. Wright called the loss frustrating.

"It's obviously disappointing," Wright said. "On the other hand, it's gratifying to have won after the first count and to have won on the second round... so I feel great about that."

In the end, the two men were separated by just 252 votes, a margin that has Kurt Wright considering asking for a recount.

"I'm gonna consider it," Wright said. "I don't expect it to overturn the results but it may be worth doing to figure out how this whole system does work."

But Kiss is confident in his victory and says he's looking forward to continuing work on the Moran Plant and keeping Burlington financially sound.

"I do believe if Kurt and I had a citywide race I would prevail, IRV really does reflect the will of the people and I'm looking forward to another three years," Kiss said.

Kurt Wright will also be stepping down as city council president. He says it's too early to know whether he will considering running again, but he's not ruling it out.

As for the Burlington City Council, the balance of power will now be seven Democrats, three Progressives, two independents and one Republican-- PLUS either another Democrat or another Republican. That's because there will be a runoff election in Ward 7 between Republican Vincent Dober and Democrat Eli Lesser-Goldsmith. No candidate in the three-way race got 50 percent so it goes to a runoff.

There are 14 seats on the council and seven were up for election this time. The winners were:

Ward 1
Sharon Foley Bushor (I)

Ward 2
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (P)

Ward 3
Marrisa Caldwell (P)

Ward 4
Nancy Kaplan (D)

Ward 5
Joan Shannon (D)

Ward 6
Mary Kehoe (D)

Ward 7
TBD between Vincent Dober (R) and Eli Lesser-Goldsmith (D)

Bianca Slota - WCAX News

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