Wright in Burlington mayoral race shows classic sore loser syndrome .... Then adapts

by Rob Richie // Published March 3, 2009
March 5th update: After time to reflect and recover from what must have been a very disappointing evening Kurt Wright has told the Burlington Free Press that "I accept the system as it is. I'm not (leading) any effort to overturn IRV. He added "I think voters had a clear choice - a good choice between four competent candidates." The Free Press ran a helpful graphic on the results today as well.

Kurt Wright lost by 3% in today's mayoral election in Burlington, as reported in my previous post. He's now suggesting that the fact that most city voters preferred incumbent mayor Bob Kiss must somehow be the fault of instant runoff voting.

In comments quoted in the Burlington Free Press and elsewhere, Wright said on election night that because he was ahead in first choices and was ahead when the field was reduced to three that he should be the new mayor-- even though he was the clear loser when the field was reduced to two.

I'm wondering if Wright now will call on this fellow Republican In the Ward 7 city council race to concede his runoff election. Vincent Dober, Sr. finished behind Democrat Eli Lesser-Goldsmith, but neither candidate won a majority. Voters in that race will have to come back to the polls in a few weeks because the city doesn't use instant runoff voting for city council seats

Looking at the round-by-round results, it's clear why Kiss defeated Wright. Kiss ran strongly in the first round, trailing Wright by 4%, and then was preferred as the second choice over Wright by more supporters of both independent Dan Smith and Democrat Andy Montroll. That's why he pulled ahead in the final round -- with the system operating just as it was designed to do in determining the strongest candidate.

Here are the round-by-round results, as reported by the Burlington Free Press:

Round 1 voting: Kurt Wright, 2951 Bob Kiss, 2585 Andy Montroll, 2063 Dan Smith, 1306

Round 2 voting: Kurt Wright, 3294 Bob Kiss, 2981 Andy Montroll, 2554 Dan Smith (defeated after 1st round)

Round 3 voting: Bob Kiss, 4313 Kurt Wright, 4061 Andy Montroll (defeated after second round)