Longtime New Bedford political writer Jack Spillane interviewed the candidates during a special edition of The Chat on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m.

Seldom has a special election in a ward race generated the kind of interest that is taking place in the campaign to pick the next Ward 3 city councilor in New Bedford.

Ward 3 Councilor Hugh Dunn spent much of the past year battling drunk driving and other motor vehicle charges connected to a late-night crash in downtown New Bedford. Though a judge found the five-year councilor not guilty on the drunk driving charge and held out judgment on two others, Dunn resigned shortly after his trial saying that a new job in Boston was demanding too much of his time for him to continue on the council.

Though Dunn successfully ran unopposed for re-election while he faced the charges, his resignation brought out no fewer than eight candidates wishing to take his place. Seven of those candidates have remained in the race and the Jan. 24 preliminary election will narrow that field to two for the Feb. 28 final election.

The candidates are: Carmen Amaral, Robert Bromley, Robert Cabral, Kathy Dehner, Shawn Oliver, John Robinson and Jacob Ventura. They represent much of the diversity of New Bedford in their backgrounds, professions and home neighborhoods.