Burlington Democrats on Sunday unanimously endorsed Mayor Miro Weinberger, who is seeking a third term as the city's top executive at Town Meeting Day in March.
A crowd of 250 people inside the Burlington High School auditorium roared with approval, waving "Miro for Mayor" signs as they gave their endorsement with a voice vote.
Weinberger avoided what could have been an awkward caucus. Independent mayoral candidate Carina Driscoll initially said she planned to seek the Democratic endorsement, but later backed down.
"Rather than attempting to pull off a political stunt unseating the Mayor in his own caucus, I am focused on engaging voters throughout the city and increasing participation on election day, Tuesday, March 6th," she said. Driscoll earned the endorsement of Burlington Progressives in December.
Weinberger's wife, Stacy, nominated him for the endorsement. The mayor seemed at ease on stage, cracking a joke about keeping the temperature low inside the chilly auditorium to save taxpayer dollars, and sharing anecdotes about members of his campaign team.
Weinberger, who faces challenges from Driscoll and independent Infinite Culcleasure, said that his first six years in office "built a foundation for even greater successes" in a third term.
Weinberger was quick to tout his accomplishments, painting a picture of his intervention when Burlington "teetered on the edge of a true fiscal crisis." He described his work investing in the northern waterfront, building affordable housing and selling Burlington Telecom.
Weinberger also reverted back to his talking point of elections past — city financials. "Fiscal responsibility is not a checkbox on a to-do list to be marked and then forgotten," he said to applause.
His priorities in his next term will be ensuring that Burlington remains "an equitable and inclusive city." Weinberger also vowed to invest in infrastructure and public spaces, move forward on energy initiatives, and to resist policies of President Donald Trump "that are in conflict with Burlington values."
Though Weinberger never mentioned Driscoll by name, he twice alluded to her in his speech. Driscoll, Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) stepdaughter, could pose a serious challenge to the incumbent.
“One of my opponents is trying to reuse the old campaign slogan that 'Burlington is not for sale,' suggesting that Burlington Democrats are recklessly selling off the City’s assets," Weinberger said. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We aren’t selling Burlington."
The caucus began with city council candidate endorsements.
Endorsed Democratic city council nominees, from left to right: Lizzie Haskell, Chip Mason, Karen Paul, Ali Dieng and Adam Roof
Haskell, a 21-year-old UVM graduate, has worked with Burlington and state Democratic committees and promised voters that if elected, she would bring accountability and transparency to the city council.
In Ward 7, incumbent Ali Dieng beat Chris Trombly 46-16. Dieng, who in December also secured the Progressive nomination, defeated Trombly in a special election last June.
Chip Mason (D-Ward 5) also received unanimous support in his bid to hold his seat against Progressive Jesse Warren. Incumbent Karen Paul (D-Ward 6) was endorsed in her run against Progressive Charles Simpson. Independent Adam Roof received the Ward 8 endorsement; he'll face UVM student Carter Neubieser, a Progressive.
No Democratic candidates stepped up to contest the reelection bids of Sharon Bushor (I-Ward 1), Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4) or Max Tracy (P-Ward 2).