MONTPELIER: Austerity Party Holds, School Budget Fails

Results are in from Montpelier's election. With about 2400 ballots cast, and contested City Council races in every district, here are the results:

Mayor

Hollar (I) 1525

Hallsmith 782

Council D-1

Bate 401

Hooper (I) 357

Council D-2

Guerlain (I) 441

Guertin 315

Shadis 69

Council D-3

Turcotte 394

Jones 278 

School Budget

Yes 1130

No 1211 

 

My impression is that the mayoral race was closer than expected. Among people I talked to, most people agreed with the issues that Gwen Hallsmith raised (for example, over 1600 people voted for the state bank, Hallsmith's pet issue) but were unanimous that given the disarray she presided over when she worked for the city she would have been a disastrous choice for mayor. 

The austerity candidates in Districts 2 and 3, incumbent Thierry Guerlain and Justin Turcotte, won handily; Guerlain had two challengers, neither of whom ran much of a campaign, and their total came fairly close, but not close enough to say that vote-splitting among the opposition made a difference.

District 1 was close and it is quite likely that the late publicity that Andy Hooper, a genuinely nice guy, received for unguarded comments in some e-mails on the Hallsmith affair made a difference in that race.

As usual, every other proposal but one passed overwhelmingly. The one exception was the school budget, where even a small budget increase would have led to a large percentage tax increase. It's back to the drawing board for the school board.

 

I continue to doubt that Montpelier voters are as conservative as the Vibrant and Affordable Montpelier faction on the Council. Winning candidate Dona Bate took a progressive, pro-housing position and I hope she is able to advance those issues. Meanwhile, in upcoming elections early and committed work will be needed to return Montpelier to a more progressive vision of what the city can and should be. 

2 thoughts on “MONTPELIER: Austerity Party Holds, School Budget Fails

  1. I’d interpret the Council results a little differently. It’s pretty rare for incumbents to lose; Hooper lost, and Guerlain didn’t exactly distinguish himself. Guerlain ran a very vigorous campaign and tied himself as tightly as possible to Hollar’s coattails, but only managed a respectable victory while Hollar was trouncing Hallsmith. The unfortunate similarities between “Guerlain” and “Guertin” certainly didn’t help the challenger create a strong identity. Every time I saw the two names, I had to remind myself which was which.

    As for Hollar, he did win handily, but Hallsmith wasn’t really a serious challenge.

    It’s possible to look at the results and see evidence of a growing opposition to the VAM crowd. Now, the opposition needs to find itself a few good candidates.

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