The September 28 preliminary election in New Bedford lacks excitement, with no mayoral contest and few challenges to the incumbents. Yet voters should turn out just the same, particularly in Ward 3.

Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn is running unopposed for re-election, meaning he will have no preliminary opponent on the September 28 ballot. No reason for Ward 3 voters to go to the polls, right? Wrong! That is why people should turn out.

Dunn has been arrogant and unapologetic since his mysterious car crash in a parking lot in downtown New Bedford on the morning of May 1, and voters need to show their disapproval of his behavior.

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District Attorney Thomas Quinn believes Dunn was drunk when he hit two parked cars and that he may have attempted to flee the scene. Quinn has asked that charges be filed against Dunn. A damning internal police probe has resulted in the suspension of three New Bedford Police officers. Dunn is expected to face a court magistrate to determine whether he will face criminal charges in the case.

In August, Dunn was overheard by New Bedford Light reporter Will Sennott openly bragging to another man on the patio of a downtown bar, "They aren't going to do sh-- because the cops aren't going to say sh--." I assume he is referring to the same cops who have already taken the fall for Dunn for their alleged shoddy reporting of the car crash.

We must afford Dunn the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law, but this man-child appears incapable of taking responsibility for his actions. Dunn has yet to display the maturity in his handling of this personal crisis to make me confident in his ability as a leader.

Voters in Ward 3 should turn out on preliminary election day to send a message of disapproval to Hugh Dunn by blanking his race. He's going to win since he has no opponent, but by leaving the box next to his name unchecked, voters can show Dunn they wish they had another option.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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