Veteran City Councilor and reluctant mayoral candidate Brian Gomes believes he has been victimized by the system simply because he didn't know the rules. Gomes is usually a smart and savvy politician but this time he slipped up and it could cost him politically.

Early on in the process in this election year, Gomes made sure the right folks knew that he was giving serious consideration to running for mayor. It is the first time the new four-year term is on the ballot and it is tempting for someone like Gomes, who truly aspires to serve. The big question was whether Jon Mitchell, a popular three-term mayor, would seek another term. Mitchell announced in early August that he, in fact, would be a candidate.

Mitchell's decision impacted the plans of a few other potential candidates including At-Large Councilor Linda Morad who, like Gomes, drew papers for multiple offices including mayor. Morad decided it would unwise to challenge Mitchell and is seeking re-election instead.

After finally deciding to forgo another shot at the corner office, Gomes missed the deadline for having his name withdrawn and will appear on the ballot as both a candidate for mayor and for re-election to the council. This could confuse or anger some voters and could cost him politically.

Gomes has tried unsuccessfully to have his name removed from the ballot as a candidate for mayor. He blames his lack of knowledge of the rules for his misstep and suggests that someone is attempting to "jam (him) up" or "discredit" him. Truth is, Gomes jammed himself up.

The question facing Gomes now is whether to actively campaign for mayor or just ignore the race and focus on the council. It is likely Gomes will be Mitchell's general election opponent whether he wants to be or not.

Brian Gomes has been a top vote-getter in New Bedford for almost three decades and has quite a following. I suspect he will not be turned away by the voters this fall, but what role they choose for Gomes won't be determined in November.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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