Leo Choquette is running for the second time for a seat on the New Bedford City Council. This could be the year for the financial planner and law school graduate.

It is difficult to unseat an at-large city councilor in the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Incumbents have a tremendous advantage in almost any election. They have earned the trust of the voters or they wouldn't be in an incumbent. Incumbents have the advantage of increasing their name identification in the months and years between elections. Incumbents have the ability to raise money and build their political organization on a daily basis.

The structure of the ballot in New Bedford is also a tremendous advantage for incumbents. The incumbent at-large councilors are listed alphabetically in the first five positions on the ballot. The top five vote earners in that race are the winners.

There is a roadmap for a challenger like Leo Choquette to get on the city council this year. It is up to the voters to make the ultimate decision, but Choquette has the ability to influence his destiny, too.

The voters of Ward One have the option to vote strategically and put another one of their own on the city council. If elected, Choquette would join Linda Morad as the second at-large councilor from Ward One. Interestingly, there is only a single councilor at-large from Ward One at this time.

The issue of Parallel Products attempting to open a waste management facility in Ward One will likely play a serious role in the city council election. The people of Ward One vote in a much higher percentage than other parts of the city. By my calculations, there are thousands of votes left to be cast by the folks in Ward One in the final election in comparison to the votes cast in the preliminary election.

If the voters in Ward One are looking to increase their strength on the city council, and Leo Choquette makes his case to them, there could be a new voice in City Hall come January.

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 chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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