New Bedford has a tradition of re-electing incumbent politicians in good times and bad. Most incumbents in the U.S. get re-elected, but New Bedford is special.

The election season has started for candidates who want to get elected to the city council in New Bedford. The political season has also started in the surrounding suburbs of Dartmouth and Fairhaven for local positions like the Board of Health and the Select Board.

One of the reasons incumbents usually win is because the people who challenge them start too late and therefore allow valuable time to expire. You can always raise more money but you can't regain lost days and weeks. As the challengers wait for the imaginary starting gun, the incumbent is working day in and day out in the public eye.

Another reason incumbents are usually re-elected is that the people that elected them are happy with their choice and they don't see a reason to vote against the person they have voted for in the past. It is tough to vote against someone you once voted for, assuming the vote was based on some conviction or relationship.

So are any of the current city councilors vulnerable to a challenger at this time?


At least not at this moment in the election season. None of the challengers have much money on hand compared to the incumbents, with the exception of Lisa White. The one open seat on the council also provides a cushion between the incumbents and the challengers.

Of course, this could all change if some of the challengers start raising money and building up a large base of volunteer supporters across the city.

Don't miss the starting gun.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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