After Caucus, Burlington Dems Still Without A Mayoral Candidate
11/13/11 9:32PM By Kirk Carapezza
Burlington Democrats are still without a candidate in the race for mayor after a protracted, six-hour caucus Sunday evening ended in a tie between Tim Ashe and Miro Weinberger.
Ashe, a state senator, and Weinberger, an airport commissioner, had advanced in earlier rounds of voting in the caucus, defeating State Representative Jason Lorber and City Councilor Bram Kranichfeld.
Then a third round of voting showed the two candidates in a dead heat. The initial tally found Ashe had 541 votes to Weinberger's 540, with each candidate needing 542 votes to take the majority. But a recount determined the two candidates were in fact tied, 540-540, with neither one having the necessary majority of votes to win the nomination.
Party officials say that voters will reconvene the caucus within the next month, and that only Ashe and Weinberger will appear on the ballot.
Frustrated and tired after the recount, Ashe said the stalemate has essentially launched another campaign.
"Thank God this was only 27 days - that'll mean I'll have another 14 [days]," said Ashe, who was the last Democrat to enter the race. "It will be a turnout game. I think it won't have all the pomp and circumstance of tonight's caucus. It might be a little more pedestrian. People show up. They get their ballot. They quickly cast it. They go home. I'd be thrilled to death if I turn out to be the victor."
Weinberger characterized the Democratic mayoral caucus as a great day for democracy, saying he's just pleased to be one of the last two Democrats standing in the race for Burlington mayor.
"Am I frustrated? Not in the least," Weinberger said. "I think we made a remarkable showing and we're going to win this. We're going to get out there and try to unify the votes."
There's no word whether the caucus later this month will be open to all voters or just those who were present Sunday night, but both the Weinberger and Ashe campaigns say it should include any registered Burlington voters who want to cast a ballot.
Ashe and Weinberger are hoping to succeed progressive Mayor Bob Kiss who has not yet announced whether he'll run for reelection.
Republican City Councilor Kurt Wright is also seeking the mayor's seat in Vermont's largest city.