By Mark E. Vogler
---- — LAWRENCE — At least for the first half of his 4-year term, Mayor-elect Daniel Rivera will get to work with a City Council he knows well.
Voters yesterday elected eight councilors Rivera worked with during his four years on the 9-member body — including all seven incumbents on the ballot and former city councilor.
Former Councilor Nilka Alvarez-Rodriguez — the only candidate elected who hasn’t worked with Rivera — will become the most senior member of the council. Alvarez-Rodriguez served a decade on the council before stepping down to mount an unsuccessful run at mayor four years ago.
Alvarez-Rodriguez said she believes Rivera should have a good-working relationship with a council that was perceived as being pro-Lantigua.
“I know I will work well with him, and I think Danny will do his best work with the new council,” Alvarez-Rodriguez said late last night, as she waited outside the Elections Division office along with other candidates to receive preliminary results for City Clerk William Maloney.
“He did have some confrontations with some of the incumbent councilors. But that’s something he’s going to have to work out straight away,” she said.
Alvarez-Rodriguez, who maintained neutrality in the mayor’s race, received 5,071 votes last night, to grab the third councilor-at-large seat.
Former City Councilor Modesto Maldonado — a supporter of Mayor William Lantigua — received 5,135 votes to finish second in the at-large race, just 64 votes ahead of Alvarez-Rodriguez. Maldonado had previously served one term on the council after getting elected to the District C seat in 2009.
Roger A. Twomey, who was re-elected to his fourth term, outdistanced all candidates in the at-large race with 7,307 votes.
Former Councilor Jorge Gonzalez, who lost his District C Arlington Neighborhood seat to Maldonado four years ago, lost his bid for the council again, finishing with 4,521 votes. Newcomers Maria De La Cruz and Wendy Luzon finished with 3,669 votes and 3,120 votes respectively.
Three district councilors were re-elected last night without opposition. District F incumbent Marc Laplante received 1,813 votes as he coasted to his fifth term on the council — one behind Alvarez-Rodriguez. District C Councilor Kendrys Vasquez and District B Councilor Estela Reyes each won their second term after receiving 1,727 and 2,104 votes respectively.
In the closest council race, District A incumbent Sandy Almonte beat challenger Rosa Pina 1,113-908 to capture her third term on the council.
District D Councilor Oneida Aquino defeated challenger Marta Rentas 1,269-624 to get her third term on the council.
District E incumbent Eileen O’Connor Bernal won by a landslide 2,153-800 over Kathleen Runge.
“The candidates who got elected tonight all have a good track record of working harmoniously with each other and I think they will work well with the new mayor,” said Bernal, who was re-elected to a third term.
Voters in the District C Arlington Neighborhood — the city’s poorest district — earned the most clout on the council last night. The two former councilors who were elected in the at-large race — Maldonado and Alvarez-Rodriguez — represented District C an aggregate of four terms.