At-Large City Councilor Brian Gomes faces a difficult decision whether to focus on winning re-election in November or to challenge popular Mayor Jon Mitchell for the first-ever four-year mayoral term. Gomes advanced to the finals of both races in yesterday's balloting but now must decide which office to pursue.

Mitchell collected nearly three times as many votes as Gomes in the preliminary election with 57 percent of the total vote to Gomes' 20 percent. There is evidence that by appearing twice on the ballot, Gomes may have hurt himself with the voters as he finished fifth overall in the at-large race with 12.47 percent of the total vote. Gomes usually finishes at or near the top.

The fact that only 9.5 percent of registered voters even bothered to participate in the election may have skewered things just a bit, but it is what it is. Politicians live and die by the numbers.

Gomes wound up in this bizarre situation by missing a deadline to withdraw his name from the mayor's race. Some say it was a calculated strategy while others say Gomes simply made an error. Either way, Gomes ran two races and should be concerned about the results of both.

There are indications that Gomes may have worn out his welcome with some voters. He's been in office for nearly three decades. Some personal issues off the filed have also had an impact. Can Gomes recover from his poor performance in yesterday's voting? Absolutely, but he's got his work cut out for him.

Gomes must decide quickly which office he wants to pursue and then go after it with all of the gusto he can muster. He must articulate to the voters why he is still relevant and why he deserves their support. This will require Gomes to withdraw his name from the ballot in the race he wishes to abandon. If he does not, voters will suspect Gomes is playing games and will show him the door.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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