For the first time in the history of the city, there is a four-year term for the mayor, so there will not be a race for that job. But there is the city council.

The 2021 city election will not have a mayor's race to bring out the voters, but there will be at least one open seat on the city council and that should make life interesting for those in and around politics. An open seat is rare in New Bedford.

Longtime at-large city councilor Debora Coelho announced that she will not seek re-election to the council seat she has held for more than a decade. I have no doubt that she would have been re-elected if she decided to run again. It is very hard for a challenger to crack into the top five finishers in the at-large race and thereby defeat an incumbent.

No doubt this vacancy will bring out a slew of challengers. At least one of the non-incumbents will win a seat on the council in 2021. This is the year to run if you ever wanted to become an at-large city councilor. The open seat is too rare to take a pass on the 2021 election.

The vacancy should also ensure that all of the veteran councilors will be re-elected in 2021. There were roughly 1,000 votes between the closest challenger and Councilor Brian Gomes, who placed fifth in 2019. Those 1,000 votes made the at-large council race a mandate for the incumbents.

So far the retirement of Coelho is the only announced vacancy. Could there be more announcements coming?

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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