Mayor Paul Coogan’s election day began in a New Bedford hospital, where his wife is recovering from punctured lungs and 12 broken ribs after a car knocked her off her bike on Sunday. 

It ended at Our Lady of Light Band Club, where Coogan celebrated a bittersweet finale to a hard campaign. He won 62 percent of the vote, finishing ahead in every precinct in Fall River. 

“The city of Fall River spoke very, very clearly and loudly tonight,” Coogan said. “You can take every negative thing you want to say — you can spin it, lift it up, kick it sideways, send it around — the City of Fall River rejects this kind of campaigning all the time.”

Coogan’s challenger, City Council President Cliff Ponte, ran an aggressive campaign, often hauling campaign volunteers and critics of the mayor into marathon council meetings to condemn the way the city was run. 

Ponte said in a concession speech that voters looked past the issues and made their decision based on “likability.”

“I told you what the future is going to be like a year from now or two years from now,” said Ponte, who warned voters of rising taxes after Coogan used federal coronavirus relief to balance the city budget this year. 

Ponte, who owns a diner and daylights as a real estate broker, lost more than just the mayor’s race on Tuesday. Since he didn't run for re-election to the city council, Ponte’s losing his seat there too. 

“This isn't the end of Cliff Ponte running for political office,” he said. “I’m going to take a little break after this and recharge the batteries for what I hope is going to be something special.”

Voters in Fall River also elected a new school committee and a slate of nine city councilors. Councilor Christopher Peckham was the only incumbent politician in the city who failed to win re-election on Tuesday. His seat and Ponte’s now belong to newcomer Andrew Raposo and Joe Camara, a former 12-term city councilor returning after a hiatus.

A few miles down the coast, New Bedford elected two new members to its city council. A progressive newcomer named Shane Burgo won an at-large seat alongside four incumbents. And the council’s president, Joseph Lopes of Ward 6, lost his seat to a 23-year-old challenger, Ryan Pereira. 

A poet and environmental activist, Erik Andrade, also lost his campaign to unseat New Bedford's tax assessor, a six-year post that Andrade argued should be used to combat gentrification.

Election results

Winners are in bold type. 

Fall River Mayor

Paul Coogan: 7,533 (62%)

Cliff Ponte: 4,654 (38%)

Fall River City Council

Linda Pereira: 5,704

Trott Lee: 5,542

Shawn Cadime: 4,888

Bradford Kilby: 4,437

Leo Pelletier: 4,369

Pam Laliberte-Lebeau: 4,356

Andrew Raposo: 4,180

Joseph Camara: 3,965

Michelle Dionne: 3,867

Christopher Peckham: 3,667

Laura-Jean Washington: 3,014

Ricky Tith: 2,965

Paulo J. Amaral: 2,782

Gabriel "Boomer" Amaral: 2,702

Alexander Silva: 2,573

Matthew B. Springer: 2,522

Chrisanne Tyrrell: 1,853

Angel J. Pantoja Jr.: 1,537

Fall River School Committee

Kevin Aguiar: 6,313

Paul Hart: 5,354

Michelle Mimi Larrivee: 5,230

Shelli A. Pereira: 4,720 

Sara Rodrigues: 4,086

Bobby Bailey: 3,922

Melissa Costa Doyle: 3,333

Collin Dias: 3,323

Charles M. Chase Jr.: 2,633

John Kaleski: 2,076

New Bedford City Councilor-At-Large

Ian Abreu: 3,830

Brian Gomes: 3,123

Linda Morad: 2,884

Naomi Carney: 2,714

Shane Burgo: 2,364

Paul Chasse: 2,195

Jason Mello: 2,082

Lisa White: 2,004

Scott Gordon Pemberton: 1,751

David Sullivan: 1,340

New Bedford City Councilor Ward One

William Brad Markey: 769 (51%)

Leo Choquette: 725 (48%)

New Bedford City Councilor Ward Two

Maria Giesta: unopposed

New Bedford City Councilor Ward Three

Hugh Dunn: unopposed

New Bedford City Councilor Ward Four

Derek Baptiste: unopposed

New Bedford City Councilor Ward Five

Scott Lima: 1,123 (67%)

Zach Boyer: 536 (32%)

New Bedford City Councilor Ward Six

Ryan Pereira: 707 (56%)

Joseph Lopes: 550 (44%)

New Bedford School Committee

Ross Grace Jr.: unopposed

Melissa Costa: unopposed

Colleen Dawicki: unopposed

New Bedford Assessor-At-Large

Kimberly Saunders: 3,701 (61%)

Erik Andrade: 2,300 (38%)