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Burlington Councilor Won’t Run

Several days ago we brought you the story of a Democratic city councilman in Burlington, Vermont who was seriously considering an independent big for mayor. Now it appears that Andy Montroll will remain a Democrat and not run as an independent in this election.

The article from the Burlington Free Press:

City Councilor Andy Montroll won’t mount an independent campaign for mayor of Burlington.

Montroll said a week ago that he was giving thought to remaining in the race. Thursday, he said he won’t do it, because running as an independent would mean severing his ties with the Democratic Party.

“That is not something I want to do,” he said. Montroll lost the Democratic nomination for mayor earlier this month to state Sen. Hinda Miller by a vote of 550-511.

The odds against winning an independent campaign also were a factor.

“In the end, it would be a pretty tough campaign to do it outside the party system,” he said. “I’ve always worked within the system. It would be a long road.”

His ambivalence last week about accepting the caucus verdict drew harsh criticism from Democratic State Party Chairman Ian Carleton, from Mary Sullivan, chairwoman of the city Democrats, and from Miller. All three said Montroll had pledged to “abide by the will of the Democratic caucus,” as Carleton put it.

“I would be utterly shocked if he goes back on those commitments,” said Carleton, who is also the council president.

Thursday, Sullivan expressed relief that Miller, a newcomer to city politics, wouldn’t have to run as the mayoral candidate for a divided party.

The second-term state senator faces Republican Councilor Kevin Curley and Progressive state Rep. Bob Kiss, plus Green Party candidate Loyal Ploof and Ion Laskaris, a former Ward 5 city councilor. Montroll’s candidacy, in the first election run in Burlington with instant run-off voting, could have weakened the apparent edge held by the Democratic candidate.

Fewer than 100 supporters turned out for the Republican and Progressive caucuses, and only about 10 went to the Green Party caucus in November.

“I’m really pleased he came to this decision,” Sullivan said. “I understand that it’s hard to come that close and lose, and I’m sure he started thinking afterward what his options might be, but with this decision, he did the right thing.”

Miller, reached by phone, said she had won the caucus vote “fair and square.”

“We both pledged we’d support the Democratic candidate who won,” she said, “and I’m glad Andy is fulfilling that pledge.”

Montroll remained unenthusiastic about Miller’s candidacy.

Asked whether she is the best of the remaining candidates, he paused, then said, “I think she would make a fine mayor.”

“I’m not making a formal endorsement at this time,” he continued, “but I think it’s important for us to get behind the Democratic candidate. At this stage, I’m not entirely sure how involved I’ll be, but I hope some of the issues I’ve raised will carry forward. I know it resonated with some people.”

He recalled his precaucus pledge differently than Miller and the party leaders.

“What I said was that if all went well at the caucus I’d be unlikely to run as an independent,” he said.

After his close loss, he said, a “considerable number” of his supporters either urged him to run or asked him to consider it, and many, he said, complained they’d been unable to get into the high school on Jan. 5 to vote.

“That was certainly part of the consideration,” he said. “It’s difficult to know one way or the other what the end result would have been had the event been accessible to more people, but I wanted to support the outcome of the caucus.”

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