New Bedford At-Large City Councilor Ian Abreu has quickly jumped out of the pack of potential candidates should there be a special election for mayor in 2021. He has certainly won the media cycle locally.

Scoring three goals in hockey is called a hat trick. What do you call scoring five media goals in politics? Maybe it should be called an “Abreu,” at least locally. Ian Abreu was on radio and television, in digital media articles, the Standard-Times print newspaper, and all over social media since the start of the year.

With Mayor Jon Mitchell under consideration for a position in the administration of President Joe Biden, the conversation has turned to who might run to fill out his term as mayor. This extremely rare political opportunity promises a crowded field of candidates in the primary. There is no shortage of qualified candidates in the Whaling City.

The three big names that emerged early were former Mayor Scott Lang, State Representative Antonio Cabral, and City Councilor Linda Morad. All have sought the job in the past and they all have the reputations and resources to mount a serious citywide campaign on a moment’s notice.

Just about every other city councilor is in the mix, too. There are other people who aren’t on the council at this time who are being mentioned seriously as potential candidates as well.

But the candidate who seems to have generated the most enthusiasm so far is Ian Abreu. The councilor’s work on behalf of a restaurant struggling to survive and blocked from COVID-19 relief was first reported by WBSM talk host Barry Richard. WPRI 12 picked up on the story and interviewed Abreu and the owners on camera. What have you done about COVID-19? is going to be a question every candidate is going to have to answer for the next few years at least. Abreu has his answer and he has news reports to document his efforts.

The callers to my show are overwhelmingly in support of Abreu running for mayor, as are the commenters on social media. That kind of public support is obviously a mixture of the organic and the manufactured, and it proves the candidate has an organization that can respond quickly and intelligently to the changing political world.

It is still early and campaigns ebb and flow during elections, but Abreu is off to a tremendous start in 2021.

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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