NEW BEDFORD - What is traditionally a non-partisan race has continued to develop into a race that clearly is separating Democrats from Republicans.

The latest news from the run for the vacant Ward Three seat on the New Bedford City Council is that Jill Marie Ussach, the only declared Republican in the race, has been endorsed by governor Charlie Baker.

Baker endorsed Ussach last week in a statement.

"As Ward Three Councilor, Jill Ussach will be a strong voice for higher-performing schools, new businesses, affordable housing for the elderly, veterans, and the homeless, and for safe streets and sidewalks. I know Jill's commitment to public service and her achievements in finance and education. She will work with residents to improve neighborhoods. Please vote for Jill Ussach, Ward Three Councilor, on March 28th."

The party divide in the race became evident when Ussach was not invited to be part of a candidate forum hosted by the city's Democratic committee two weeks ago. Baker's endorsement fortifies party politics in the race.

The preliminary does not guarantee a spot for one candidate from each party, but rather the two candidates that garner the majority of the popular vote.

The preliminary election is March 28, with the final election being held April 25.

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