NEW BEDFORD - Voters turned out to City Hall on Tuesday to submit their choices for mayor and city councilor of their respective wards for the city's preliminary elections.

Along with voting for mayor, voters from Wards One, Two, Four, and Five narrowed down the pool of candidates to two-per-ward going into the final election.

Ward One featured the largest pool of seven candidates in the city, who combined to generate 1,138 total votes. The election resulted in Melissa Costa and William Markey as the remaining candidates for the final election. Costa came out as the frontrunner to be the next councilor with 240 (21.09%) votes as William Markey finished with 218 (19.16%) total votes.

Markey says he would use the problem-solving experience he gained from his career as a sales representative in the council chambers if elected, and says that's what helped get him to the point of making it through the preliminary election.

“I'm a sales representative so every day I deal with problems and I have to go out there and get it happening. I feel I could bring something to the council and the City of New Bedford,” said Markey. “I've lived in Ward One for over 23-years, I love the city, and I'm at a point now where I feel I can give back.”

Candidate Daniel Costa fell behind Markey by just 8 votes with 210 (18.45%). Christopher Amaral received 190 votes (16.7%) and Steven Caton got 145 (12.74%) as the final candidates in the ward with over 100 votes to their name. Randy Santos finished with 74 total votes (6.5%). Mark Ventura received the least amount of support from Ward One with 58 total votes (5.1%).

The race for Ward Four City Councilor came down to incumbent Dana Rebeiro and candidate Joseph “Jo Jo” Fortes. Rebeiro topped the ward in total votes with 409 (40.06%), and had just 3 more votes than Fortes' 406 (39.76%). Candidate Kenneth Gilbert received 203 votes (19.88%) and is officially eliminated from the election.

“Jo Jo” Fortes says that “there are concerns in this ward that have been un-kept from streetlights to sidewalks,” by current Councilor Dana Rebeiro. Fortes also tells voters that when “we show the attendance of this councilor, you will see what we're talking about.”

Ward Two candidate Maria Giesta topped the polls as she got 340 votes (64.27%). Giesta will be campaigning against Edwin Cartegena over the next month leading up to the final election. Cartegena was the closest to Giesta in total votes with 111 (20.98%). Carlos Felix finished with 74 votes (13.99%) and will not be moving on to the final election.

Scott Lima and Paul Chasse will be the two choices for Ward Five City Councilor. Lima took home the most votes in the ward with 462 (31.30%) with Chasse collecting 337 votes (22.83%). Kathleen Towers missed the cut with 311 votes (21.07%), followed by Nelson Macedo with 295 (19.99%), and David Sullivan who got 66 votes (4.47%).

Shortly following the release of the preliminary election results, Ward Two candidate Carlos Felix was escorted out of City Hall by a police officer for causing a commotion and screaming obscenities at Election Commission staff.

The final election for mayor and city councilors of New Bedford is set for November 7.

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