Today is the official opening of the political season in the city of New Bedford. The nomination papers to run for office are there for the picking.

Will this be a competitive election season in the Whaling City or will it be a season of flameouts and tough talk only?

The city voters changed the mayoral term in 2017 from two years to four years and this is the first year that change goes into effect. Four years is a long time to be mayor and it certainly strengthens the position of an incumbent. Whoever wins in 2019 will be the king or queen of New Bedford.

Boston has a four-year term and in recent decades it has taken an act of God to have a change in mayors. Mayor Raymond Flynn was made Ambassador to the Vatican and that opened the door for Thomas Menino to become acting mayor. He was elected and re-elected to the job until he was called home by God. Today, Marty Walsh is the mayor and he will be there until he or God decides otherwise. Three elected mayors since the 1980s in the city of Boston.

There are plenty of potential candidates to run this year, but they are all just potential at this point. Even Mayor Jon Mitchell is officially still undecided on running this year. However, I believe he is running and he is going to put on a strong campaign based on his vision of the next four years for his city

The last moment to return the completed nomination papers is at 5 p.m. on August 16 of this year. Until then, it will be just speculation and rumors and positioning by the different political camps forming for what is just potential at this point.

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 chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.