Ryan Pereira is making his first run for office, but he is executing like a veteran campaigner. He needs real money to beat New Bedford City Council President Joe Lopes.

One of the hardest tasks for anyone in politics is to raise enough money to run a competitive campaign. It is particularly difficult for a new candidate to raise money. Most people find it awkward to ask other people for money and most people don't have a large enough network of friends and family members to even ask.

Ryan Pereira, age 23, is a different kind of candidate, obviously.

In his first major posting of financial contributions at the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, his campaign reports raising $5,200. That puts Pereira ahead of the current Ward 6 city councilor he is challenging. It is a rare occasion when a challenger raises more than the incumbent at the start of the campaign season.

Councilor Lopes has $3,444 in cash on hand – or nearly $2,000 less than his opponent.

This is going to be an abnormally expensive political campaign season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional door-to-door campaigning and shaking hands at large events are not likely to happen this cycle. The only way for a candidate to bring their message to the voters will be with paid media.

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Pereira is trying to unseat a longtime incumbent and that means he will have to start spending early. Lopes is the Ward 6 councilor and the city council president because he knows how to win.

Ryan Periera also knows how to win, as he has clearly won the first round of the fundraising war that will continue in the South End of New Bedford.

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 chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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