As the speculation continues about New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell leaving early to join the Biden Administration, the list of potential mayoral candidates grows.

Mitchell has confirmed he has been in communication with the Biden-Harris presidential transition team about a position in the new administration. Should Mayor Mitchell leave, there will likely be an enormous number of candidates seeking to fill out the remaining years on his term.

The first candidates that come to mind are former Mayor Scott Lang, State Representative Antonio Cabral, City Councilor Linda Morad, and current City Council President Joseph Lopes. I have written previously about this group of standouts, but there are other potential candidates, too.

Thinking back on the last serious election for mayor, it was a relatively unknown candidate, Jon Mitchell, who ultimately defeated two much better known and more experienced candidates in Rep. Cabral and Councilor Morad. So it is entirely possible we don't even know the name of the future elected mayor, should we have a special election.

One interesting name that has been floated for mayor – in fact, floated before the recent news of Mayor Mitchell's possible departure – is Manny Debrito, the current Elections Commissioner for the city. This would be his first run for office but he is well known for his work in youth athletics and through his years running city elections.

At-Large City Councilor Ian Abreu has a strong political organization and he is a dogmatic campaigner all over the city. His work on the council and for constituents in need of service has set him apart from other less energetic councilors. His position at the Chamber of Commerce has helped him develop strong links to the regional business community and that will help him raise the funds to run a strong campaign.

Long-serving City Council Brian Gomes has run for mayor previously and he has been elected citywide for decades. Brian's recent work as the leader of the mayor's Police Use of Force committee would be a feather in his cap, too.

Stay tuned because this list of potential candidates continues to grow by the day.

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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