Now, here's something you don't see very often, a sitting Governor endorsing a primary candidate in a local ward city council race.

Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is choosing sides.   Baker has issued a statement endorsing Jill Ussach, the only Republican in a six person primary for the Ward 3 City Council race here in New Bedford.  It is unusual for a sitting governor to  become involved in local politics, but, extremely unusual, perhaps even unheard of in a primary for a ward seat.

Baker's endorsement comes in the form of a fairly generic written statement but carries substantial weight.  Democrat Hugh Dunn, thought by many to be the frontrunner in the primary race, has been endorsed by two of the last three people to hold the Ward 3 seat,  but, Governor Baker's entrance into the fray brings this special election to a new level.  If nothing else, Baker's endorsement almost guarantees Ussach a spot in the final two.

Whether Governor Baker intends to campaign on behalf of Ussach or issue any additional statements on her behalf is unclear.  One thing is for certain though, by involving himself at all Baker has indicated that he views this special election for a ward seat in New Bedford to be important to him.

What was thought to be a rather sleepy, special election for a ward council seat in New Bedford has all of a sudden taken on statewide significance.   I wonder why?

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.


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