"Money is the mother's milk of politics" goes the old and still true saying. Running citywide is expensive and it is difficult to get heard in a large field.

There are five at-large city councilors who represent the entire city of New Bedford along with the six individual ward councilors. Running for an at-large seat on the council is an enormous and expensive undertaking.

The first "primary" is the money primary in politics. Candidates have to advertise their value in the same way businesses have to advertise. Hair salons, restaurants, car dealerships, and financial advisors have to spend money to build up their name and the value with the local consumers, and politicians must do the same.

So where do the current incumbent at-large city councilors stand for campaign money at this important moment in the election cycle?

1. Ian Abreu has nearly $12,000 in the bank.

2. Naomi Carney has just over $3,000 in the bank.

3. Debora Coelho has just over $1,500 in the bank.

4. Linda Morad has over $28,000 in the bank.

5. Brian Gomes has just under $20 in the bank.

There are a few candidates who have taken out nomination papers to run for an at-large city council seat, but not enough at this time to trigger a preliminary election. Without a preliminary election in October, it is nearly impossible for a challenger candidate to gauge their strength and intelligently focus their efforts for the November final election.

The election field changes significantly if one or more of the incumbent at-large councilors decide to retire or run for mayor. We will know soon what the election field looks like for New Bedford.

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.