LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Ballots from the Lawrence mayoral election were locked in a vault under police guard Wednesday in anticipation of a possible recount in the nonpartisan race, with challenger Daniel Rivera claiming a narrow victory over incumbent William Lantigua.
Unofficial preliminary returns from Tuesday’s election showed Rivera with 60 more votes than Lantigua out of more than 15,000 cast in the Merrimack Valley city. Under Massachusetts law, municipal candidates have 10 days to petition for recounts in one or more city wards.
Lantigua said late Wednesday afternoon it was too early to say whether he would ask for a recount. The mayor and his lawyer, Sal Tabit, said at a news conference that they planned to wait until provisional ballots and all absentee ballots were tabulated.
“The truth is, there is no answer to that question at this time,” Tabit said. He also cited reports of technical problems with some voting machines during the election.
Rivera told reporters Wednesday he hoped Lantigua would not challenge the results, but said he was prepared for any action.
“We fought for every vote, and we’re going to protect every vote to make sure this election does not get stolen,” said Rivera, a city councilor.
The 58-year-old first-term incumbent, the state’s first popularly-elected Latino mayor, has faced several high-profile political troubles during his four-year term. He was recently named in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley that alleged he violated campaign finance laws.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports