The first round of debates are over and the 2011 New Bedford preliminary election results are in. The disappointing part of the election was the 28% voter turn-out. There are 50,117 registered voters in New Bedford, but only 14,259 voters shows up to the polls on October 4th. While better than the 2009 elections, New Bedford is yet again letting a minority of residents decide the city’s leadership and future.
For those new to local politics, the preliminary elections decide which candidates move on the the final municipal elections. In New Bedford the final municipal elections will be held on 8 November, 2011. The preliminary elections narrow down the candidate field down from as many candidates that qualify to two candidates for mayor and for each ward city council seat. If there are two or less people running for office they skip the preliminary elections and automatically move on to the final municipal election. City council-at-large and school committee have more seats up for grab and allow a larger field to move on to the final municipal election. Here is a break down of the races:
There were five candidates that qualified for the preliminary elections; Antonio Cabral, Jon Mitchell, Linda Morad, E. Michael Janson and Thomas Pina. The results were:
Antonio Cabral (5,296)
Jon Mitchell (4,787)
Linda Morad (3,863)
E. Michael Janson (171)
Thomas Pina (78)
Antonio Cabral and Jon Mitchell finished as the top two candidates and move on to the November 8th election. This effectively removed Linda Morad from elected office for 2012. You can’t run for city council and mayor at the same time, so Linda Morad will not represent Ward 1 unless she pushes for a write-in campaign. Who will Linda’s supporters vote for in November? That answer will likely tell us who becomes our next mayor.
The New Bedford School Committee consists of seven members; six elected to the committee and the mayor who serves as the chairman. Every two years three school committee members face re-election. In the preliminary election seven candidates qualified for the ballot, but only the top six candidates move on to the November 8th election. The 2011 New Bedford School Committee election results:
Thomas Clark (6,044)
Marlene Pollock (5,281)
Jill Marie Ussach (5,108)
Joaquim Livramento (4,195)
Erik Andrade (3,044)
Guillermo Gonzalez (1,947)
Adrienne Wilkins (1,591)
Adrienne Wilkins was eliminated and the other six candidates move on. Of note, the three incumbents received the top votes. It appears that the incumbents are looking strong for November. In 2009, the cut off for school committee was 5,088. Unless something drastic happens, New Bedford will be re-electing all three incumbents.
Ward City Council Races – Learn more about the New Bedford City Council here.
Ward 1 was vacated by incumbent Linda Morad. Here are the results for 2011 New Bedford Ward 1 City Council:
James Oliveira (1,213)
Nelson Ostiguy (932)
Frank Ribeiro (466)
Robert Rebello (451)
Randy Santos (284)
James Oliveira and Nelson Ostiguy finished as the top two candidates and move on to the November 8th election. There is a good chance Linda Morad will run as a write-in candidate.
Incumbent Steven Martins is running unopposed so there was no need to have a preliminary election for Ward 2. Unless there is a write-in candidate (unlikely) Steven Martins will be re-elected to Ward 2 for another 2 years.
Here are the results for 2011 New Bedford Ward 3 City Council:
Henry Bousquet (551)
Kathy Dehner (456)
George Rodgers (402)
Christopher Barros (297)
Henry Bousquet and Kathy Dehner finished as the top two candidates and move on to the November 8th election. These results are a little surprising as Kathy Dehner the incumbent finished in the top two, but finished second. Not great results for an incumbent with the final elections just a month away. Expect this race to be close in November.
Bruce Duarte Jr. and Dana Rebeiro are the only candidates running for Ward 4 City Council so there was no need for a preliminary election. This election is a repeat of 2009. Bruce defeated Dana 972 to 618. Expect a close race in November.
Jane Gonsalves and James Roy are the only candidates running for Ward 5 City Council so there was no need for a preliminary election.
The City-Council-at-Large is not ward specific and is elected by residents city-wide. There were not enough candidates to force a preliminary election so all qualified candidates move on to the final municipal elections on November 8th. The top five candidates will serve City-Council-at-Large. The candidate list:
David Alves (I)
Brian K. Gomes (I)
Deborah Coelho (I)
Denis Lawrence, Jr. (I)
John T. Saunders (I)
Marty Treadup is running unopposed.
In conclusion …
New Bedford Residents have until October 18th, 2011 to register to vote in the November 8th elections. If you already registered for the primary elections there is no need to register again. Read my article on registering to vote here. New Bedford Guide will soon present a Political Survey System to help voters get educated before they vote. Voters have just over a month to get informed on the candidates before voting. Let’s hope for a better turn-out of informed voters on November 8th. Until then stay tuned to New Bedford Guide as we push out important news and information on the candidates. Check out our election page with interviews, links and other useful information on all the candidates.