Gomes Files for Mayor and Council Races, DeBrito Clarifies Rules
NEW BEDFORD — The upcoming elections in New Bedford will feature candidates running for multiple offices, and the Election Commission is providing some clarity on the rules surrounding such a move.
City Councilor At-Large Brian Gomes has filed to run for both his re-election to his current Council seat, as well as the Mayor’s Office. Gomes has until a Tuesday deadline to either withdraw from one of the races, otherwise, he’ll be listed as a candidate for both Mayor and Councilor At-Large in the preliminary election.
Election Commissioner Manny DeBrito says his office has received multiple inquiries on the ability to run for two offices in New Bedford. DeBrito says while the City does not prohibit candidates from submitting nomination papers for multiple offices, it does not mean someone can be elected to multiple offices.
“It is a longstanding common law rule that due to the nature of their duties one person may not hold the offices of Mayor and City Councilor at the same time,” DeBrito explained.
“And, while the City Charter does not expressly prohibit a person from submitting nomination papers for the two offices simultaneously, historically, candidates who may have considered this option have weighed the issues it presents and have ultimately chosen not to run for both offices in the same election. In weighing the decision of whether to run for dual offices, a candidate may consider State Ethics Laws, Campaign Finance Laws, and the potential cost to the city of $50,000-60,000 for a special election should they be elected to both offices.”
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.
Other candidates had also previously pulled papers this year for multiple positions, including big names like City Council President Linda Morad, who also filed to run for her current Council seat and the Mayor’s Office. Morad has since withdrawn from the Mayor’s race and will be running for another term in the Council Chambers. City resident Michael Janson is also listed as running for Mayor and Councilor At-Large.