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Rivera Beats Lantigua In Recount To Win Lawrence Mayoral Election

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Michael Rosenfield Michael Rosenfield
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LAWRENCE (CBS) - Daniel Rivera will be the new mayor of Lawrence, adding to his lead by 23 votes after Saturday’s election recount was finished.

He defeated controversial incumbent Mayor William Lantigua.

Election workers reviewed the more than 15,000 ballots cast in the election. The recount took place at a school gym in Lawrence.

In the initial count on Election Day, Rivera won by 58 votes.

When the recount was over, he won by 81 votes.

The final tally was 7,628 votes for Rivera and 7,547 votes for Lantigua.

WBZ NewRadio 1030′s Mark Katic reports

Rivera, a city councilor, says he expects to take office in January.

“The big thing here is about unity,” Rivera said. “Starting tomorrow, we have to come together as a community. We cannot afford another day as a divided city, divided by a river, divided by ethnicity, that stuff has to end.”

But the Lantigua camp, which protested four ballots, said there are election irregularities it’s reviewing. The alleged irregularities include a number of inactive voters casting ballots, leading the mayor to say he’s not conceding.

Lantigua said he is reviewing his options and has not ruled out going to court.

“This is not over, so why would I be disappointed,” Lantigua said.

Lauren Goldberg, an attorney with the law firm Kopelman and Paige P.C., said 40 absentee ballots were not counted for a number of reasons, including some not being signed by the voter.

The law firm was hired to oversee the recount.

Both camps also had their own attorneys and observers on site.

William Lantigua. (WBZ-TV)

William Lantigua. (WBZ-TV)

The ballots were hand-counted by volunteers on Saturday, with attorneys and election observers from Secretary of State William Galvin’s office on hand.

Lantigua, a 58-year-old first-term incumbent, and 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.

Two associates of Lantigua, including his former chief of staff, pleaded not guilty in June to corruption charges. Lantigua has not been charged with any crimes and a recall effort mounted by opponents two years ago failed to collect enough certified signatures to move forward.

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