Retired state trooper to challenge Attleboro mayor

SE Mass

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — A first-time candidate has jumped into the race for Attleboro mayor as campaigns for this year’s Massachusetts municipal elections begin to take shape.

Todd McGhee, a 56-year-old retired state trooper who has lived in the city for two decades, pulled papers last week to run against two-term incumbent Paul Heroux. He is the second challenger to file against Heroux, along with former City Council candidate Jim Poore.

“I really believe that it’s time for the city to have forward-facing leadership,” McGhee told 12 News, saying he would emphasize collaboration as mayor. “I think I greatly feel that working with our city’s top talent, working with the City Council, is a strength of mine,” he said.

Heroux confirmed he plans to seek a third term in November, but said of his opponents, “I welcome them to the race. I think collaboration is a good thing for our democracy.”

A former Democratic state representative, Heroux was first elected mayor in 2017, when he ousted seven-term incumbent Kevin Dumas. Heroux won re-election easily in 2019, earning two-thirds of the vote against then-City Council Vice President Heather Porreca.

“I’ve got a solid record of accomplishments to run on that require collaboration,” Heroux told 12 News. “Several of the things that my opponents are seeking to pursue are things that I’m already doing.”

There is still plenty of time for more mayoral candidates to emerge in Attleboro, with the deadline to submit nomination papers not until Aug. 3. If three or more candidates make the ballot, a preliminary election will be held Sept. 21, with the top two advancing to the regular municipal election on Nov. 2.

Elsewhere in Bristol County, voters in Fall River and Taunton will also be casting ballots for mayor this fall. (New Bedford switched to four-year terms in 2019, so Mayor Jon Mitchell is not up for re-election again until 2023.)

Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan won office in 2019, when he defeated indicted incumbent Jasiel Correia, and has already said he intends to seek a second term.

Only one candidate, Jonathan Albernaz, has pulled papers so far to run against Coogan. The deadline to file for mayor in Fall River is July 25.

Taunton also has a first-term mayor, Shaunna O’Connell, who has pulled papers to run for re-election. The city clerk’s office said O’Connell is the only candidate who has filed so far.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

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