On March 3, Burlington, Vermont held a mayoral election. The candidate were Progressive Bob Kiss (the incumbent), Republican Kurt Wright, Democratic Andy Montroll, independent Dan Smith, and Green Party nominee James Simpson. Kiss was re-elected. The election had been considered impossible to predict. The independent candidate, Dan Smith, had raised more money than any other candidate. The Democratic candidate, Andy Montroll, was an incumbent member of the City Council and had been endorsed by Howard Dean and the city’s daily newspaper. The Republican nominee, Kurt Wright, was the incumbent president of the city council.
Burlington uses Instant Runoff Voting. Wright led in the first count but no one had a majority of first place votes. In the second count the Republican also kept the lead. But after the votes cast for the Democratic nominee had been reassigned in a further count, Kiss won by 4,313 to 4,061 to the Republican nominee. Observers felt the election had been an excellent example to show that IRV does what it is supposed to do. In particular, the candidates were very courteous and respectful to each other during the campaign, since each candidate hoped to win second-choice or third-choice votes from various rivals. Also the city was spared the expense of a run-off election several weeks after the original March 3 event. For the election returns, see www.burlingtonvotes.org/20090303.