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Country's Only Socialist Mayor Easily Defeats Six Opponents to Win His Third Term in Vermont City

March 06, 1985|Associated Press

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Bernard Sanders, the nation's only socialist mayor, easily defeated six other candidates Tuesday to win reelection to a third, two-year term.

Sanders, 43, received 5,429 votes, or 55%, while his chief opponent, Democrat Brian Burns, had 3,095 votes with all six wards reporting.

In addition to Sanders' victory, it appeared that his allies were going to gain a majority on the 13-member Board of Aldermen. Sanders' Progressive Coalition had held six seats before Tuesday's vote.

Burns, 45, a former lieutenant governor, said a crowded race and the nationwide economic upswing were the reasons for Sanders' popularity.

Sanders, a Brooklyn native who runs as an independent, shocked Burlington's political establishment in 1981 with a 10-vote victory over a five-term Democratic incumbent. Two members of his Progressive Coalition also won seats in 1981.

As a radical Liberty Union candidate, Sanders ran unsuccessfully in 1972 in a special U.S. Senate election and in a gubernatorial election that same year.

Sanders said his third term will include a "a statewide fight for progressive alternatives" to the property tax.

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