LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP/MyFoxBoston.com) - Current Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua said he's not ready to concede or call for a recount in a tight mayoral election separated by only 60 votes.
Through his attorney, Lantigua said it's still too soon to tell if he'll ask for a recount. He said he wants to wait for provisional ballots to come in and be counted before making a decision.
Unofficial returns from Tuesday's election showed apparent mayor-elect Dan 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.
On the FOX 25 News at 5 Wednesday, Rivera said he considers himself the mayor-elect and will proceed as such. Meanwhile, the ballots remained locked in a vault under police guard.
The 58-year-old Lantigua, 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 the mayor, including his former chief of staff, pleaded not guilty in June to corruption charges. Lantigua himself 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.
Rivera said he hoped the mayor would not challenge the results.
"If he thinks it's in his best interest, I don't think that it is in the city's best interest to do it but we will defend our vote," Rivera said. "And we're hoping that the Secretary of State's office takes our request and runs it."
Secretary of State William Galvin, the state's top elections official, said his office worked with Lawrence officials after the election to secure the ballots, which were placed in sealed containers and locked in the vault at the Lawrence elections department.
"Campaign representatives recorded each seal number and were permitted to take pictures of the containers holding the ballots and other precinct election materials," Galvin's office said in a statement Wednesday. "Thereafter, the vault was sealed in the presence of all parties."
Galvin's office said there are still 49 provisional ballots being reviewed for proof of validity.
Lawrence police officers will remain stationed outside the entrance to the vault until any recount is completed, the statement said.
Rivera was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas and the local teachers union.
State Rep. Marcos Devers, who also ran for mayor and endorsed Rivera after finishing out of the running in the September preliminary election, said he expected Lantigua to request a recount but did not think it would succeed.
He said Wednesday that voters accomplished a "great change" in ousting the incumbent.
"We want the rest of the state to see Lawrence as a great place," Devers said.