FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Fall River residents are heading to the polls to vote in the city’s preliminary election for mayor.
The top two vote-getters in the nonpartisan race will face off in the Nov. 7 general election.
Current Mayor Paul Coogan is looking to win another two-year term, but is facing a challenge from former mayor Sam Sutter as well as longtime city resident Michael Vandal.
Learn more about the candidates below.
Coogan has been the mayor of Fall River since January 2020. He won in a landslide against disgraced former mayor Jasiel Correia the previous November, then won reelection in 2021.
Coogan previously served on the Fall River School Committee and was a teacher in the city’s public school system for more than 30 years.
Coogan argues he has given the city steady leadership following the tumult of the Correia years, and has touted endorsements from other leaders including former Gov. Charlie Baker and Congressman Jake Auchincloss.
Sutter is hoping to win the office again, having served as mayor for just over a year back in 2015. He defeated former mayor Will Flanagan in a recall election, but then lost to Jasiel Correia the following fall.
Prior to that, Sutter served as the Bristol County district attorney from 2007 until he submitted resignation at the start of 2015.
Sutter points to successes during his brief first tenure as mayor, including progress on the efforts to get Amazon and Market Basket into Fall River, and has suggested Coogan isn’t bringing enough energy to the job.
Vandal previously ran for mayor back in 2021, and was a candidate in the race for governor last year.
Vandal is an independent, but said he leans Democrat.
He has a lower profile than the other candidates for mayor, but has stressed his long residency in the city.
The city of Attleboro was originally scheduled to have preliminary election on Tuesday, but Mayor Cathleen DeSimone is running unopposed.
Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell and New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell are also running for another term this year. Taunton has no preliminary election, but New Bedford’s is on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
The polls in Fall River are open until 8 p.m.
Stay with 12 News and WPRI.com for updates on Tuesday’s election.