More candidates are joining the 2021 race to be on the New Bedford City Council. The candidates are also raising money – well, most of the candidates are raising money.

It comes as no surprise that most of the candidates are looking to get elected to an at-large seat given the upcoming retirement of Deb Coelho from the council. An open seat among the five at-large seats is a rare occurrence. An open seat is even rarer than an incumbent at-large councilor losing re-election.

The three most active non-incumbents so far are Matthew Keefer, Jason Mello, and Lisa White. They have been doing outreach to the public and they have been raising campaign funds, which you can see in the list at the bottom of this article.

Other candidates who are in the at-large race or are telling others they are running are Richard Tyson Moultrie, Shane Burgo, and Scott Pemberton.

Of all these, only Moultrie, White and Pemberton have previous experience running for office in New Bedford. Six candidates are seeking the one open seat and there will probably be more candidates joining the race. If another at-large city councilor decides to retire, the race will obviously get more interesting and it could draw more challengers.

At this time, the only ward race will be in the South End. City Council President Joseph Lopes represents Ward 6 and he is being challenged by Ryan Pereira. This will be Pereira’s first run for elected office and he has picked a tough opponent. The challenger has raised over $11,000 for his campaign.

The mix of new candidates means there will be the potential for new discussions about new and old issues. Hopefully, the candidates will be long on details and short of rhetoric in 2021.

New Bedford City Council Candidates Current Campaign Finance Totals:


Ian Abreu $31,763
Brian Gomes $1,606
Linda Morad $34,072
Naomi Carney $2,297
Brad Markey $3.66
Maria Giesta $2,152
Hugh Dunn $974
Derek Baptiste $368
Scott Lima $2,373
Joseph Lopes $3,444


Jason Mello $2,600
Scott Pemberton (no report)
Shane Burgo $0
Lisa White $1,096
Matthew Keefer $1,580
Richard Tyson Moultrie $75
Ryan Pereira $11,000

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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