New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has announced he is running for re-election and he has no serious competition at this point. Is it coming down to a coin flip?

There are a few candidates who haven't declared their intention but could be a serious challenge to Mayor Jon Mitchell in the fall. That they haven't yet declared is more than a serious impediment to their viability against a well-financed, highly organized and determined incumbent mayor.

Former Ward 2 City Councilor Steve Martins posted a picture of himself at the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament with former Mayor Scott Lang on his "public figure" Facebook page this weekend. Above the picture, Steve Martins wrote: "We agreed to flip a coin..."

It reminds me of the scene in the 1980's movie Wall Street when the young upstart played by Charlie Sheen tells his blond girlfriend that he and the rich stock-trading pirate played by Michael Douglas "reached an agreement and decided to divide up the world between us."

The clear implication is that Martins and Lang, who are friends and regularly partner up to attend social events in the region, have decided that one of them should run against Mayor Jon Mitchell. The coin flip is to decide which one gets to have the election season off and which one has to take on the incumbent mayor.

Steve Martins has a decent amount of money in his campaign account and a legion of supporters. Scott Lang has no campaign account but is certainly capable of raising the necessary funds if he decides to get into the race. Steve is a well-paid employee of Massachusetts Treasurer Deb Goldberg and he would likely have to give up that position to challenge Democrat Jon Mitchell. Scott Lang has a vibrant law practice and he would have to figure out how to maintain his private business while managing the city of New Bedford.

The public declaration by Martins about a coin flip between him and Lang is interesting. It may be an invitation to potential supporters. It may also just be a joke. The truth will be known on August 16, the deadline to run for a city office in New Bedford.

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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