NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — Voters of New Bedford’s Ward 3 have chosen Shawn Oliver and Carmen Amaral as their top two candidates in Tuesday's preliminary election for city councilor.

The two candidates received the most votes in a race featuring five other candidates and 686 total ballots cast. Oliver received the most votes with a total of 193 votes and Amaral came in second with 160 votes.

Both will face each other again in a general election on Feb. 28 to decide who will fill the vacant seat left by former councilor Hugh Dunn, who resigned in December to relocate for his job at the law firm Kelly & Associates.

Oliver, who had no experience running a campaign for public office, said he was overjoyed to win first place and is ready to begin the second phase of his campaign. He said he will continue to knock on doors and talk to people.

Adam Bass/Townsquare Media
Adam Bass/Townsquare Media

“There will be fine tweaks here and there,” Oliver said of his general election campaign. “The biggest thing is that we will probably be more structured in our tact.”

A constable and corrections officer for the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Oliver said he wants to reach out to the everyman voter who lives in Ward 3 neighborhoods.

Amaral, an immigrant of the Azores, said her campaign will focus on building a broad coalition of voters who wish to bring progress in safety and education to New Bedford citizens.

“I think that the move for any city councilor, anybody in public government, advocacy and service is to bring people together,” Amaral said. “Because we all have a common goal, we have to figure out how to get there.”

Adam Bass/Townsquare Media
Adam Bass/Townsquare Media

Amaral also congratulated Oliver for his win, embracing her opponent in the elections office when the votes were tallied and announced that night.

Bob Bromley, who garnered 133 votes, and Kathy Dehner, who received 53 votes, were also present at city hall on Tuesday.

Despite coming in third and fifth place respectively, both candidates wished their opponents the best of luck. The three remaining candidates, Jacob Ventura (85 votes), Robert Cabral (40 votes) and John Robinson Jr. were not present at the event.

Despite a close election with seven different candidates, turnout was low for Tuesday's election, with only 686 votes cast.

Oliver said the City should have done more to raise awareness for the election and that the elections department needed to simplify its website to help voters.

“In an age where we have so much communication at our disposal, I feel like we don’t use it to our full potential,” he said. “Everybody that I met, I talked to, was bringing awareness to it.”

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