City Progressives threw their support behind Carina Driscoll for Burlington mayor on Wednesday night, choosing her over rival candidate Infinite Culcleasure by a 116-84 vote.
Both will stay in the race as independents, running against six-year incumbent Miro Weinberger.
A standing room-only crowd filled the gym at the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes. The Progs gathered around cafeteria tables for a shared meal and then voted on Progressive candidates for council and mayor.
The mantra of the night was affordability and transparency in city government. Culcleasure vowed to "shift power from small elite groups of people to folks who have been ignored."
Driscoll said that as mayor, she would increase community input on the future of city properties such as the waterfront, the Moran Plant and Memorial Auditorium. "The message of this campaign is clear: Burlington is not for sale," she declared, to applause.
Candidates also said they hope to mobilize a movement to unseat Weinberger and other Democratic incumbents come Town Meeting Day in March. "We've re-energized a movement that needs to happen in Burlington," Driscoll said.
The meeting started with a vote to endorse Progressive council candidates running in the city's eight wards.
In one of the two contested races, Brian Pine beat out James Lockridge in Ward 3 in a 42-20 vote. Lockridge will stay in the race as an independent, competing with Pine for a seat vacated by Progressive Sara Moore. Jesse Warren beat Chris Costello for the Ward 5 endorsement, and will run against Democrat Chip Mason.
City Progs also unanimously supported council incumbents Sharon Bushor (I-Ward 1), Ali Dieng (D/P-Ward 7) and Max Tracy (P-Ward 2). New candidates Carter Neubieser, a UVM student running in Ward 8, and Ward 6 resident Charles Simpson were also endorsed. No Progressive candidate came forward in Ward 4.
Progressive city council candidates
In remarks following the vote, Tracy urged voters to stay engaged, to volunteer on campaigns and to attend public meetings. "It's about continuing political involvement," he said. "Folks are looking for a change in city hall and that starts in March."