Money is important in political campaigns. Money is ultimately speech. Campaign funds dictate how often a candidate can speak to the voters. Money matters.

This is the first week of the political election season in the city of New Bedford. Nomination papers to run for office in the city became available this week and that is the starting gun. Completed nomination papers must be returned by August 16 to the city's Elections Department.

Candidates who hope to win must be able to communicate their message to the voters. Political campaigns are like most other marketing campaigns. A candidate has to have the financial resources to purchase radio time and column inches in the newspaper. They have to have the money for printed materials for their campaign organization to distribute door to door.

The person with the strongest financial position in New Bedford politics is State Senator Mark Montigny. In fact, he has one of the best capitalized political campaigns in the Commonwealth. Senator Montigny has over $890,000 in his campaign account. He is productive and happy in the Senate, but his strong financial position, record in office, and the tremendous admiration of his New Bedford constituents put him in the driver's seat if he shifts his focus to another elected office.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has nearly $200,000 in his campaign account. Although he hasn't declared his intention to run again for mayor, he has an upcoming fundraiser and most people believe he wants to continue serving as mayor.

State Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral has more than $125,000 in his campaign account. Representative Cabral and Mayor Mitchell are heading towards a confrontation over charter schools and perhaps more.

City Council President Linda Morad has nearly $30,000 in her campaign account and the potential to raise much more if circumstances warrant it.

County Commissioner John T. Saunders, who served for decades on the City Council, has about $23,000 in his war chest. Saunders has a tremendous network of supporters and he is head and shoulders above most when he decides to raise money for himself or a friend.

Councilor Morad, Rep. Cabral, and Mayor Mitchell have battled previously for the big chair in City Hall.

Good intentions and great ideas are important in politics. But if a candidate can't speak to the voters about their good intentions and great ideas, they will fail.

Money matters.

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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