So many Democrats were running to succeed Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III it became confusing for most voters and even some political watchers. A U.S. Marine won.

Those of us who watched the primary closely and discussed it with our audiences quickly recognized that less than 25 percent of the vote could make one of the candidates a member of Congress. The field was broad but each candidate was strong. All of the candidates in the Democratic primary had solid resumés, serious financial and volunteer support, and interesting stories.

The candidates were all concentrated in the northern part of the district.

Jake Auchincloss, a Harvard graduate who served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, made a tactical decision that changed the outcome of the race and tilted it in his favor: he decided to concentrate on Fall River and New Bedford. Although New Bedford isn’t in the district, the suburbs of New Bedford are and lots of voters who live in those suburbs are concerned with the city with which they still have deep economic and social ties.

Early in the election process, Auchincloss reached out to New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell to ask his advice and to build a working relationship. Mitchell, a former Army officer and fellow Harvard graduate, appreciated the effort. Mayor Mitchell also understood the importance of having a coalition working for his city and he spotted Auchicloss as a winner. Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan endorsed Auchincloss and so did Mayor Mitchell.

The people who live in Freetown, Lakeville, and the other suburbs of Fall River and New Bedford delivered Auchincloss the votes that helped him overcome his opponents because he listened to them and he established a working relationship with the local mayors.

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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