One, the refugee issue was the only one that mattered to voters. And two, he was apparently mistaken in his oft-stated belief that the refugees' supporters outnumbered their opponents in the community.
"In spite of the fact that we tried to make this campaign about issues and about facts, the reality is that it was in fact a referendum on resettlement," Louras told Seven Days. "They voted on emotion. Rutland is a microcosm of the national dialogue around immigrants and refugees [and] I believe that was the major contributing factor to this campaign and to the voters' decision."
The large margin of his loss to Allaire, 2,196 votes to 1,420, made it clear that there was nothing he could have done to overcome resistance to his signature issue, Louras said.
"It was such a blowout that it is laughable. I had my tail handed to me, so I can't reflect on it and say, 'What could I have done differently?'" Louras, a former Republican who turned independent, said. "When you get whooped this bad, there's no tactic or strategy that overcomes that."
Source: Seven Days
The incumbent Mayor was still visibly shocked by his loss last night but acknowledges the precarious position some officials may find themselves on the issue of refugees. Vermont is known for being one of the most liberal in the nation, electing and re-electing Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, voting by wide margins for Democratic Presidential candidates, and rejecting candidate Donald Trump in 2016 by a twenty-six point margin. However, every state can surprise: Vermont replaced its outgoing Democratic Governor with a Republican, Phil Scott, and pockets of the state haven’t made the full progressive switch. Rutland City, which just rejected Mayor Louras, voted for Hillary Clinton by 11%, but also voted for now-Governor Scott by 23%.