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April 21, 2013

Devers declares campaign for mayor

This will be his fourth political showdown against Mayor Lantigua

LAWRENCE — State Rep. Marcos A. Devers said he loves his job, representing the city’s interests on Beacon Hill.

But Devers, 62, who was easily elected to a second full term at the State House last fall, said he’s ready to give up his legislative seat next January, “effective the same day I’m sworn in as mayor.”

Devers, who made history in 2001 by becoming the city’s first Latino mayor when the City Council elected him to serve the final three months of the year as interim mayor, made it official last night that he plans to run against incumbent Mayor William Lantigua, who became the city’s first elected Latino mayor four years ago.

“I’m running because of the people — a lot of them have been asking me to run,” Devers said in interview prior to a campaign kickoff in the third floor function room of Rio’s Bar & Grill at 9 Appleton St.

In becoming the fifth candidate to declare himself in the city’s mayoral race, Devers pits himself in another political showdown against Lantigua, who previously sat in the same State House seat now occupied by Devers.

Lantigua defeated Devers in his reelection to the 16th Essex House seat in 2006 and 2008. Devers lost again to Lantigua in the 2009 mayoral race, finishing third in the preliminary election. Though Devers and Lantigua are fierce political rivals, Lantigua did support Devers’ campaign in the 2010 special election to fill his House seat after he resigned.

But Devers said he’s willing to “sacrifice” that State House seat to battle Lantigua again. But he doesn’t have to step down from the seat unless he beats the mayor. He’s in the first year of a two-year term.

“I’m going to run a positive campaign, not a negative one,” Devers vowed last night, downplaying the contentious nature of another political race against Lantigua.

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