New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell today endorsed Jake Auchincloss in the 4th Congressional District race -- even though New Bedford lies within the 9th Congressional District -- saying that economic boundaries don't follow political boundaries in the South Coast region.

Mitchell and Auchincloss appeared together at Pier 3 in New Bedford Wednesday morning with commercial fishing boats serving as a backdrop.

"I am committed to an inclusive economic recovery," said Auchincloss. "And while New Bedford may not be technically part of the district, it is absolutely part of the mandate for the representative from the Massachusetts 4th because New Bedford is the economic engine of Southeastern Massachusetts."

"We need a representative who will lift every boat," said Mitchell, who called the Newton city councilor "a candidate who gets it."

Mitchell said he wants to see a representative committed to expanding economic opportunity in all of Southeastern Massachusetts, a region that has struggled through various downturns while major metro areas such as Boston have thrived.

Mary Serreze/Townsquare Media

Mitchell said the 4th district, which stretches all the way from the tony Boston suburbs through working-class Attleboro, Taunton and parts of Fall River "is one of the most gerrymandered districts in the country." The dividing line between the 9th and 4th is at the New Bedford line, and New Bedford was once within the 4th district, Mitchell said.

Auchincloss promised that he would be "a partner in the transition to a clean energy economy, and a partner in securing the infrastructure investments we need to make the (Port of New Bedford) a 21st-century engine of prosperity."

Mitchell said whoever represent the 4th district must have an interest in the Port of New Bedford.  He said the city's working waterfront generates $11.2 billion in direct economic activity every year and supports over 7,000 jobs, and that "people with an interest in the port don't all live in this district."

Auchincloss is one of eight Democratic candidates vying to replace U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III. Kennedy is instead running for U.S. Senate and hoping to displace incumbent Sen. Ed Markey in the Sept. 1 Democratic primary.

Auchincloss, who attended Newton public schools, graduated from Harvard University then became a captain in the U.S. Marines. He was elected to the Newton City Council in 2015 and has been reelected twice. He worked at a cybersecurity startup and then as a senior manager at Liberty Mutual’s innovation lab, according to his campaign website.

Auchincloss has racked up other endorsements in the region, including Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan, State Reps. Carole Fiola, Paul Schmid, and Patricia Haddad, and Governor's Councilor Joe Ferriera.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app