New Bedford City Council President Doesn’t Rule Out Run for Mayor
NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — On the heels of New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell’s announcement Thursday that he is seeking another term, City Council President Linda Morad said her intention is just to seek re-election for her at-large seat, but didn’t rule out a possible run against Mitchell.
In her weekly appearance on WBSM, Morad first addressed Mitchell’s announcement, which comes just about a week and a half before nomination papers for elected office must be turned into the election office on August 1.
“The announcement is no surprise,” Morad said. “I’m sure that the mayor determined he would wait for dramatic effect.”
Mitchell will likely have a challenger in October’s preliminary election, as six people have pulled papers to run for mayor – Nathan Almeida, Evan Ziedenburg, Ryan Duarte, Michael Janson, Xavier Cardona and Jesse Soares – but none have the name recognition of Morad, who ran against Mitchell for an open mayoral seat in 2011 but lost in the preliminary to Mitchell and State Rep. Antonio Cabral.
So is Morad, who has had a contentious relationship with Mitchell at times, considering another run for mayor?
“As you know, and as your listeners know, I have pulled my papers to run for another term as councilor at large, and that’s what I intend to do,” she said on WBSM.
Does that mean she has ruled out a challenge to Mitchell?
“I didn't say that. I said my intention is to run for councilor at large,” Morad said. “There’s another two weeks between now and the final submission of papers, and I don’t know if anything will change in those two weeks, but at this point my intention is to seek my existing seat which I have held for several years now.”
The longtime councilor served as Ward 1 Councilor prior to her at-large tenure. Overall, she is in her 19th year on the council, and in her fourth term as council president.
Morad is also one of two longtime councilors – the other being Councilor at Large Brian Gomes, with over 30 years on the council – who inspired citizens Catherine Adamowicz and Paul Hankins to lead an effort to get a question asking for term limits for city councilors on this November’s ballot.
“I'm really interested in the purpose and the reason of that ballot question, honestly,” Morad said. “I’ll state it because it’s been said to people that are signing (the petition) that this is targeted against Councilor Morad.”
Although Adamowicz recently referred to Morad and Gomes as “controlling people” in a recent discussion on WBSM, she refuted the idea Friday that the proposed ballot question was “targeted” against Morad.
“I’m going to say, once again, I am for term limits for all positions,” Adamowicz told WBSM’s Barry Richard, referring to Morad’s claim it was directly about her as “delusions of grandeur.”
If Morad or anyone else of note decides to throw their hat into the mayoral race, they’ll likely be at a fundraising disadvantage; according to recent filings with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Mitchell has just under $276,000 in his campaign account, while Morad has about $43,000 in her war chest.
The at-large race already has a number of potential candidates vying for five positions. In addition to Morad, incumbents Ian Abreu, Naomi Carney and Shane Burgo have already pulled papers, and current Ward 5 Councilor Scott Lima is also seeking an at-large seat.
Gomes, meanwhile, has not yet pulled papers for the at-large race, but also didn't rule out a potential run for mayor when asked by WBSM.
"Everything is under consideration, lots of people talking," he said.
Former Ward 4 Councilor Bruce Duarte, Jr. has pulled papers for councilor at large, and Arya Witner, who said if elected she will be New Bedford’s first transgender city councilor, has also pulled papers.