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March 09, 2010

Progressive Candidates Seek Recount in City Council Races

Two Progressive candidates who narrowly lost their bids for seats on the 14-member Burlington City Council have officially requested recounts.

Progressives lost a seat in their longtime inner-city stronghold of Ward 2. Former Progressive Councilor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak's seat went to Democratic newcomer Bram Kranichfeld. Kranichfeld, who chairs the Burlington Electric Commission, is a deputy state's attorney. He defeated Progressive Max Tracy by just 13 votes, 307-294.

Democratic incumbent David Berezniak (Ward 2) was reelected, defeating Progressive Jonathan Leavitt by a slim 10-vote margin, 302-292.

"The residents of Ward 2 deserve to know with certainty the outcome of what was essentially a coin-toss election. Many voted for us in hopes of affordable, quality housing and high paying jobs and they deserve a clear outcome, since the results of these races have a great impact on the balance of the council," said Leavitt.

Both Kranichfeld and Berezniak said they expected the results to be challenged, given the closeness of the race.

The recount will take place 7 p.m. Monday night at City Hall Auditorium, and be conducted by the City Council acting in its capacity as the Board of Civil Authority.

If the Town Meeting Day results stand, it would be the first time that a Progressive has not held a Ward 2 council seat since 1981. In that year, Terry Bouricious was elected to office, and a year later Zoe Breiner joined him on the council. The Progressives held both seats until 2008 when Berezniak first won election.

Progressives are assured two seats on the new council when it convenes in April — both from Ward 3 — but they will be at their lowest level since Bernie Sanders was elected Mayor in1981.

At their peak, the Progressives held five of 12 council seats, and subsequently six out of 14 seats when the council was expanded thanks to the creation of Ward 7. That was from 1992 to 1996. They briefly held a six-seat bloc in 2001-2002 as well.

The new council will have seven Democrats, three Republicans, two Progressives and two independents. The current council has seven Democrats, two Republicans, two Progressives, and two independents. The Progressives had held one additional seat until December, when a councilor resigned because she moved out of her ward.

That councilor — Progressive Emma Mulvaney-Stanak — will return to the council from Ward 3. She ran unopposed. She joins fellow Ward 3 Progressive Marrisa Caldwell.

Democrats bested Progressives in two other council races last week, and convincingly:

In Ward 1, Democrat Ed Adrian handily defeated Progressive Miles Dougherty, 482-158.

In Ward 5, Democrat Bill Keogh bested Progressive Abby Russell, 778-509.

Didn't take Tracy long to go from "this loss is a blessing in disguise" to "I want a recount"

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