New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has likely cleared the filed of all serious contenders for this fall's election by declaring his intention to seek another term.

There had been an expectation that the 2019 mayoral contest in New Bedford might be a free-for-all since it will be the first since voters enthusiastically endorsed a four-year term. There had also been speculation in some circles that Mitchell might not seek a fifth term.

Anyone following my friend and colleague Chris McCarthy on these pages would have been aware that Mitchell was actively raising funds and showed no signs of wanting out.

There had also been speculation about who might launch a bid for the corner office. Veteran City Councilor Brian Gomes told me he is still considering a run. Mitchell's decision appears to have snuffed out any ambition that Council President Linda Morad, former Mayor Scott Lang or State Rep. Tony Cabral might have had for 2019.

Challenging a sitting incumbent is always difficult, but it is even more difficult when times are good. For all of the rough years, New Bedford is doing well at the moment and is taking steps to diversify for when the next downturn occurs.

Mitchell is well-liked. He has been a popular mayor and most people see him as someone who cares a great deal about the city and them. Barring any surprise announcements in the next two weeks, my guess is that Jon Mitchell will easily coast to a fifth term as the first New Bedford mayor elected to a four-year term.

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 barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.