EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 23, 2014

Mayoral race cost $200K

Rivera overtakes Lantigua in fundraising

LAWRENCE — Donations to Daniel Rivera’s long-shot campaign to unseat former Mayor William Lantigua surged in last weeks of the campaign and continued after his razor-thin victory, while donations to Lantigua waned, financial disclosure forms they filed this week show.

Rivera raised $68,808 between Oct. 19 and Dec. 31, the period covered by the forms, more than he collected in the nine earlier months of his campaign and nearly six times the $12,086 Lantigua raised in the same period. Combined, the two spent $198,377 over the full year of the campaigns.

About half of Rivera’s donations for the 10-week period covered by the most recent disclosure forms arrived after the Nov. 5 election, when he said he sent out a mailing and held three fundraisers to wipe out his campaign debt. The effort succeeded: he ended the reporting period with $30,703 in the bank.

The post-election money was raised at little expense, Rivera’s disclosure forms show. He reported just two fund-raising expenses after the election: $162 for food on Nov. 12 at Salvatore’s Restaurant on Merrimack Street on Dec. 18, and $200 to rent space at the Tuscan Kitchen in Salem, N.H., on New Year’s Eve.

Rivera said the event at Sal’s was held at the bar and that donors paid for their own drinks, so the space was provided without cost beyond the $162 for finger-food. He said the fundraiser at the Tuscan Kitchen was a morning event so there was no bar tab.

He said he held a third fundraiser at a private law office, but reported no expenses for that event. He declined to name the firm and said he could not recall what tickets to any of the three fund-raisers cost, except to say donors may have been asked to contribute what they wanted.

Rivera said neither the law office or the two restaurants provided anything without cost to his campaign, which could have violated a ban on corporate contributions. He said the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance has told him it will be auditing the financial disclosure forms of all six candidates who ran for mayor last year, which he said he welcomes.

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