LAWRENCE (CBS) — Incumbent William Lantigua will ask for a recount after losing to challenger Daniel Rivera by a narrow margin.

Lantigua made the announcement Sunday afternoon on Mega 1400 AM Spanish radio.

Lantigua, hinting at voter fraud as a reason for the close election, asked residents to come to his office and sign a petition if they support the recount.

Lantigua said he would accept the outcome if he is not the winner and would work with Rivera for a smooth transition.

“If you hear the sentiment of the people, there were quite a few things reported that did not work properly. All we want to do is make sure the constitutional rights of the people are obeyed by and respected,” Lantiqua told WBZ-TV’s Bree Sison on Sunday. “At the end of the day, if we are not the ones declared the winner, we will accept that and continue working to make sure our community moves forward.”

Rivera told WBZ-TV that Lantigua is “prolonging the inevitable.”

“We’re going to continue with the transition,” Rivera said. “We’ve got a lot to do; we’ve got big plans. We’ve got to make this city better. The administrative process of a recount is going happen and we’re prepared to fight for those votes.”

After Lantigua’s radio announcement, Rivera told WBZ-TV that Lantigua only ever does what’s in his own best interest and Lawrence has been “on pause” for far too long.

When asked about Lantigua’s hinting at voter fraud, Rivera laughed. “This was one of the better run elections,” he said. “We are talking about optically scanned ballots. Not much is going to change.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

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.

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.


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