LAWRENCE — Former Mayor William Lantigua’s comeback effort got a boost yesterday when election officials certified enough signatures on his nominating petitions to get him an independent line on the November ballot for the Statehouse seat held by Democrat Marcos Devers.
Devers petitions also were certified by the city’s Election Division, allowing him to run again for the seat he has held since Lantigua gave it up to become mayor in 2010 and setting up a fourth electoral battle between the two men in eight years.
Lantigua defeated Devers in runs for the Statehouse in 2006 and 2008 and again in last year’s preliminary election for mayor. Lantigua finished first in the preliminary in September, but lost the general election to former City Councilor Daniel Rivera in November.
Councilor Roger Twomey will appear on a Republican line for the seat, the 16th Essex. Rafael Gadea, an Army veteran who ran for the seat in 2010, will appear as an independent.
All four candidates will bypass September’s preliminary election and go straight to the ballot in November because Devers is the only Democrat in the race, Twomey is the only Republican and independent candidates do not run in primaries.
The Election Division certified 438 signatures on Lantigua’s nominating petitions, nearly three times the 150 required. Devers’ petitions had 270 valid signatures, Twomey’s had 215 and Gadea had 167.
None could be reached yesterday.
Lantigua, 59, represented the district from 2002 to 2010. He gave up his Democratic enrollment and switched to unenrolled on Feb. 25, the last day for making the switch in time to get on the ballot in November.
“There is a void there because we have not seen anything being done and I feel proud that citizens are asking me to run because of the good job I did,” Lantigua said about his comeback effort last week.