Gomes Explains Missed Deadline to Withdraw from Mayor’s Race
NEW BEDFORD — City Councilor At-Large and municipal candidate Brian Gomes is further explaining what happened at City Hall on Tuesday.
Gomes held a press conference at City Hall Tuesday night to discuss his political aspirations, as he had been filed to run for both the Mayor’s Office and re-election his current Council seat. He then accidentally talked right past the deadline to withdraw from Mayor’s race. He had taken nomination papers and gathered enough certified signatures to qualify to run simultaneously for both the mayor and at-large city councilor.
Surrounded by the media and Election Commissioner Manny DeBrito, Gomes discussed a number of topics related to his political career, including why he was running for city council, about how he was protecting his family from negative accusations being made against him due to his lawsuit at Southcoast Health and his lawsuit for discrimination, having a low-funded campaign account and how he was disappointing many New Bedford residents with his decision to withdraw from the race Mayoral race against incumbent Mayor Jon Mitchell.
Calling into the Phil Paleologos Show, Gomes provided a number of reasons for why he missed the deadline to withdraw his name from nomination, particularly going after Election Commissioner Manny DeBrito and spokesman for the Mayor’s Office Jonathan Carvalho, accusing them of attempting to keep him out of the race.
“I had already been told by the Election Commission that I would need to come in before 5:00 p.m. to withdraw. Nobody had told me I had a form when they had talked to me. I’m not here to throw anybody under the bus and I didn’t throw Manny [DeBrito] under the bus. I’m a pretty loyal guy to my friends and acquaintances,” Gomes said.
“I don’t think anything is very funny this morning. I think what just happened is a human error and we���re trying to correct that human error. But, to try to jam me up or to try to discredit me for not knowing for 29 years about the election. I have never withdrawn from an election, so I wouldn’t be aware of this, and I still wasn’t aware.”
Gomes went on to say that as far as he was aware, he was only required to inform the Election Commission by the 5:00 p.m. deadline of his intent to withdraw. He says he was never told he needed a notary to sign off on his withdrawal papers. Traffic was also listed as a reason for the mishap.
“There’s no notarizing, except for your nomination papers when you pass them in. No one ever told me anything of the sort. And if I had not gotten caught up in the traffic then I would have been able to go the Clerk’s Office and have that stamped and we wouldn’t even be talking about this morning,” continued Gomes.
“No one ever told me that form had to notarized.”
Gomes further criticized DeBrito, stating that it was premature for the Election Commission to speculate about the $60,000 cost to the City to hold a special election if Gomes ran for, and won both seats.
“Why would you prematurely start playing that up if there was something not bothering somebody? Something was bothering somebody, so we’re going to scare the people by saying that if Gomes runs for mayor, blah blah blah. We hadn’t even had a primary. There was no election. That was all premature because somebody felt something was wrong,” Gomes said.
The longtime City Councilor was the only candidate to have filed for two seats as of Friday, the final day to submit nomination papers in the City. Council President Linda Morad and candidate Michael Janson had also originally filed to run for Mayor and City Council before withdrawing from the Mayor’s race before the Friday deadline.
As for his decision to pull out of the Mayor’s race before missing the deadline, Gomes says that he doesn’t believe in the four-year term the City had recently voted in law.
“I always thought a four-year term was the wrong thing for New Bedford. We’re not Boston, we’re not Providence. A four-year term is too long for New Bedford,” said Gomes.
Gomes has served on the City Council since 1991, only missing one year in Council Chambers after losing in the general election to former Mayor Fred Kalisz in the 2001 Mayoral race.