OPINION | Barry Richard: Will Jon Mitchell Run in 2019?
And they're off!
In the spirit of Derby Weekend, I thought I'd pontificate just a bit about the big election ahead. No, not the midterms this fall, or the re-election of Donald Trump in 2020. Instead, the mayor's race right here in New Bedford.
I know it is still a year and a half away, but the first four-year mayoral term is up for grabs in 2019, and that has a lot of antsy wannabe's stirring anxiously waiting for the current mayor, Jon Mitchell, to announce whether he is in or out of the race. Mitchell has always been coy about these things, choosing to play his cards close to the vest and waiting until the last possible moment to reveal his intentions.
Should Mitchell decide that he's had enough, one would hope that he would say so by spring of next year in order to give others a chance to raise sufficient funds. If Mitchell does bow out, there could be as many as 20 candidates lined up to take his place.
Just who might some of those candidates be? Former Mayor Scott Lang wants it back. Council President Linda Morad, and Councillors Hugh Dunn, Maria Giesta, Brian Gomes, Joe Lopes and Ian Abreu are certainly reading the tea leaves, as is State Representative Tony Cabral.
Maybe Charlie Perry?
Cabral would have the least to lose because the election occurs halfway through his legislative term, and he would not have to give up his seat as the Councillors would, should they decide to run.
Cabral, Morad and Giesta have already faced off against Mitchell and lost.
There are others waiting and hoping that are not currently dots on the political landscape. As the election draws closer, expect to see them begin to appear at Council meetings and other events that until now, they've shown little interest in.
As I've indicated, an open race for mayor could draw a lot of interest from the Council, and that could be mean a few openings on the legislative body as well. How’s that for hope and change?
I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Jon Mitchell will not seek re-election. If not, who will run? Who should run? And what about the Council? Any bright new faces about there on the horizon?
On to 2019. Game on!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.