Rutland is a Vermont city of 16,500 people who voted 56% for Hilary Clinton and only 44% for Donald Trump.
However, yesterdays mayoral race turned into a public referendum on Syrian refugees.
Five term incumbent mayor Christopher Louras announced last year that he planned to bring 100 refugees from Syria and Iraq to Rutland each year. This caused an instant controversy. Starting with the fact that the plan was never presented before the Board of Alderman. Louras said he opposed a citywide vote and took his plan strait the U.S. State Department instead.
A group of locals formed Rutland First to oppose the refugee plan. This led to City Councilor David Allaire entering the race with a campaign promise to cancel the plan. He was backed by Rutland First.
Under Louras’ plan, the first two families of Syrian refugees moved in last January.
Leading up to the election, the Burlington Free Press and other local papers said that the refugee plan was the leading issue of the race.
In a four person non-partisan race held yesterday, Allaire won with 52%. The five term incumbent received a humiliating 33.5%.
After the election, Christopher Louras conceded that he lost because of his refugee plan.