New Bedford election candidates have yet to line up, official says


NEW BEDFORD – Eleven city council seats, three school committee seats and a general assessor seat are on the city’s ballot this fall. Potential candidates still have time to file their case, but so far the next election season promises to be “calm”, Election Commissioner Manuel DeBrito said.

“Interest in people who come to the office seems to be much slower,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s related to the pandemic or if people are just exhausted from politics. It just seems like there is less buzz.”

To get their name on the ballot, potential candidates for all positions must submit 50 signatures to the city’s election commission. For general council positions, signatures can come from all over the city; for neighborhood stations, signatures must come from neighborhood residents.

The deadline to submit documents and signatures for certification is August 10. There is no deadline for removing the documents, however, as long as it’s before the August deadline, DeBrito said.

Residents of New Bedford voted in 2017 to extend the mayor’s term to four years, so there won’t be a mayoral race this year as Jon Mitchell was re-elected in 2019.

City Council Race

As of July 19, 23 people withdrew papers for city council seats, according to a preliminary list of candidates provided by the electoral commission. More people can withdraw documents before the August deadline and some who have withdrawn may not file on time. The list of candidates will be finalized after August 10.

Nine candidates on the list are current city councilors. Not on the list are General Councilor Debora Coelho, who is retiring after serving on the board for approximately 15 years, and General Councilor Linda Morad.

After:City councilor Debora Coelho announces her retirement

Morad served as Ward 1 Councilor from 2004-2011 and General Councilor since 2014, on standard schedule.

The Standard-Times contacted Morad by email and phone to confirm whether she intended to be re-elected. She did not respond, but still has time to pull and file papers.

There are five general seats and six parish seats. Outgoing general councilors Ian Abreu, Naomi Carney and Brian Gomes have withdrawn papers for their current posts.

Nine others withdrew papers for the five positions in general: Scott Pemberton, Matt Keefer, Jason Mello, Shane Burgo, David Sullivan, Shawn Thimas, Lisa White, Bruno Friere and Mark Custodio.

Some of the potential candidates contesting the incumbents appeared on the 2019 ballot, while others are newcomers to the city council race. DeBrito said he saw many familiar names.

After:New Bedford election season ‘calm’ with one month to retrieve papers

Outgoing Ward 1 Councilor Brad Markey has a potential opponent, Leo Choquette Jr.

Wards 5 and 6 each have three possible candidates.

Ward 5 Councilor Scott Lima could run against Raena Camacho and Zachary Boyer. Ward 6 council chairman and councilor Joseph Lopes has two potential opponents: Ryan Pereira and Carlos Felix.

If a constituency race has at least three candidates and the general councilor race has at least 11 candidates, then a preliminary election will take place, DeBrito said.

Incumbents Maria Giesta from Ward 2, Hugh Dunn from Ward 3 and Derek Baptiste from Ward 4 have been running unopposed since July 19.

Dunn faces possible criminal charges following an early morning car crash in May.

After:Councilor Hugh Dunn faces potential criminal charges and YES after May crash

School committee race

Three school committee seats are to be filled every two years. Colleen Dawicki (vice president), Joshua Amaral, John Oliveira, Christopher Cotter, Bruce Oliveira and Joaquim “Jack” Livramento are current members, according to the New Bedford Public Schools website.

The terms of Dawicki, Amaral and John Oliveira expire in 2022. Dawicki, John Oliveira and Ross Grace Jr. withdrew papers for the school committee on July 19.

Assessor seat

Kimberly Saunders, who currently sits on the Board of Evaluators, is the only person to have obtained papers for the seat of Evaluator General as of July 19. His term expires in January 2022.

Preliminary elections take place on September 28 and municipal elections on November 2. The last day to register to vote for each is September 8 and October 13 at 8 p.m., respectively.

“There is still time for people to get their papers out,” DeBrito said. “Now is an opportunity because the number of people showing up is down. So if anyone is interested contact my office. “

For more information on voting or running for municipal office, visit

Standard-Times reporter Anastasia E. Lennon can be reached at [email protected] You can follow her on Twitter at @ aelennon1. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

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