Should New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell be drafted into the administration of President Joe Biden, there will be a special election to fill out his term.

Even before the 2020 election concluded, Mayor Mitchell was thought to be among the people a Democrat would ask to join a new administration. Since the election, the mayor has confirmed to WBSM host Barry Richard that he has spoken with the Biden-Harris transition team about job opportunities.

Should the mayor leave mid-term, the president of the New Bedford City Council will become the acting mayor until a special election decides who will fulfill the rest of the four-year term.

It is likely that the special election will have an enormous number of candidates of varying degrees of qualifications. The last time this occurred in the city, there were more than a dozen candidates in the preliminary election.

So who among a crowded field starts out the strongest? Only a few have the name recognition, grassroots supporters, and financial resources to mount a citywide campaign.

State Representative Tony Cabral is among the standouts at this time. The long-serving legislator has close to $150,000 in his campaign account. He ran for mayor the last time the seat was vacant and placed second. He has been repeatedly elected by voters who diligently turnout in city elections.

Former Mayor Scott Lang has a popular reputation in the city. He has remained active in politics and civic affairs since he left office. He has the ability to raise money and he has a deep base of support among people who enjoy volunteering in political campaigns.

City Council President Joe Lopes would be interim mayor and in a strong position to raise money and pull in support from that position.

At-Large City Councilor Linda Morad has also run for the job previously and comes out of vote-rich Ward 1. She has been elected repeatedly across the city. Linda has the financial resources to run a strong campaign and a loyal group of supporters.

There are other strong potential candidates – to be continued.

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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