Ward 6 City Councilor Joe Lopes was recently re-elected to another term as New Bedford City Council President. He is the potential interim mayor. He also has opposition.

Lopes is popular with his fellow city councilors. If he wasn't, he wouldn't be the president of the city council again. At the first meeting of 2021, the council suspended the rule that prohibits a council president from being re-elected to consecutive terms at the helm.

No other councilor was even nominated for the presidency.

There was no debate or discussion on the matter.

The vote was unanimous.

Councilor Lopes was first elected to represent Ward 6 in 2009 and he has served as president of the council in 2014, 2017, and 2020. He is also currently a vice president at BayCoast Bank.

This year, the South End councilor will have an opponent. Ryan Pereria, who lives on Butler Street, opened up a campaign account with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance last week. My sources have been telling me about the potential campaign of Pereira for a number of months, but it is now a reality.

Pereria has an impressive list of supporters for a first-time candidate taking on a longtime elected official. His family members are part of the New Bedford business community and generous to local charities. His father is a member of the powerful Prince Henry Society. Pereira will be able to raise the funds necessary to run a campaign, according to people close to his campaign.

Lopes is going to be a tough opponent; incumbents usually are. Councilor Lopes has about $3,500 in his campaign account as of this report. He has had nearly $10,000 on hand in past campaigns, so he is clearly able to raise the funds he will need in 2021.

This will be an exciting campaign to watch, particularly if Lopes is elevated to the job of the mayor if Mayor Jon Mitchell leaves to join the Biden Administration.

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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