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November 25, 2013

Rivera wins recount in Lawrence mayoral race

Lantigua does not concede

(Continued)

“Lawrence no longer can afford to be divided by a river, by ethnicity,” Rivera said. “We have to be a unified city, or we’ll fail. If I can’t do that, I fail.”

He kissed his wife and left for a victory party — his second in three weeks — at J. Brian’s, a South Lawrence restaurant.

Inside the school, Lantigua huddled privately with his lawyer, Sal Tabit, behind a row of bleachers in the gym. After 20 minutes, he turned to the throng of media that has been covering what has been one of the most watched elections in the state.

He took a long swig from a water bottle and said it was not over, at least for him.

“I am not conceding the race,” Lantigua, 58,said. “We need to analyze some issues.”

His hopes rest mostly on a few small pools of votes that remain uncounted and which would have to go overwhelmingly for Lantigua if the recount is to be reversed. His best hope is with the spoiled ballots, which include ballots that scanners spit back on Nov. 5 because voters filled in ovals for both candidates and then crossed one out or because voters made a mistake as they voted and exchanged their ballots to election clerks for another.

“Most of these, they were all cast for Lantigua,” the mayor said.

Tabit laid other groundwork for a challenge. Before the Board of Registrars affirmed the tally, Tabit registered four objections to the result, including that two absentee ballots found atop an Election Division filing cabinet more than a week after the election were not counted.

Rivera said he won’t wait for a concession and will make more appointments to his transition team this week as he begins assembling an administration and gets to work on the goals he stressed through the 10 months of his long-shot campaign: putting more police on patrol, improving education, attracting development and jobs, restoring the city’s image and unifying the city.

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