Lantigua’s long goodbye
Lawrence may be done with Willie Lantigua, but Lantigua is not yet done with Lawrence.
The irascible — some wonder whether indictable — Lawrence mayor is no quitter. Not when his shaky CIty Hall tenure is wracked by multiple investigations by multiple authorities. Not when residents decide they’ve had enough and vote him out of office. And not, perhaps, even after a meticulously carried out recount, overseen by everyone but international election observer-in-chief Jimmy Carter, confirms his loss and even boosts his deficit from 58 to 81 votes.
So it is that we must wait until later today, when Rey Willie, the emperor with no clothes, says he will reveal — on a Spanish-language radio show — whether he plans to challenge the result of Saturday’s recount in court.
City Councilor Dan Rivera, who has vowed to bring a good-government sheen to a city hall that has glowed with anything but that, eked out an upset win on November 5 by a 58-vote margin out of more than 15,000 ballots cast. Lantigua demanded a recount, not entirely unreasonable given the thin margin of victory. But when Saturday’s hand count of every ballot shifted the balance slightly in Rivera’s favor, Lantigua balked at conceding defeat, saying he had concerns about some ballots. After first saying he would announce on Sunday afternoon whether he planned to challenge the recount results, Lantigua pushed the timeline for an announcement back to 5:30 p.m. today.
For his part, Rivera was exuding grace, telling the Globe’s Adrian Walker that he knows from first-hand experience how tough it is to lose. He said he also understands the regard Lawrence’s Latino majority has for Lantigua, a barrier-breaker who was the first elected Latino mayor in the state’s history.
That Lantigua squandered his chance seems clear to nearly everyone. We’ll have to wait until later today to see whether he finally agrees.
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