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.
Spokesmen for the agency could not be reached late yesterday.
Attorney General Martha Coakley already is investigating findings by OCPF that Lantigua failed to report expenses for several fundraisers that brought in tens of thousands of dollars while he was state representative and mayor.
Rivera’s finance report shows he had far more donors than Lantigua over the reporting period, when 326 sent him checks compared to the 57 who gave to Lantigua.
Rivera also cast a much wider net for donors than Lantigua: about three of every four people, unions or political action committees that gave to his campaign were from outside Lawrence, from as far as Pebble Beach, Palo Alto and Pacific Grove, Ca.; Daytona Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and Houston and Austin, Texas.
Only about a third of Lantigua’s donors were from outside Lawrence, and nearly all of them were from neighboring towns and cities. Fifty-five of Lantigua’s 57 donors were from Massachusetts; the remaining two were from New Hampshire.
“I have a wider network than the mayor,” Rivera said yesterday about his donors. “When you go to school at UMass Amherst and you’re a student trustee (of the university) and you intern for Rep. (Joseph) Kennedy, you have a wide network. I was in the Army, worked in the private sector and for (state Treasurer) Steve Grossman’s campaign. I have a statewide network. That’s what you’re seeing.”
The network included several state and national elected-officials, Rivera’s disclosure forms show. Besides Grossman, who gave the $500 maximum, Rivera received checks from U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas ($250), state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives ($100) and former U.S. Rep. Martin Meehan, now chancellor of UMass Lowell ($500). Rivera once worked as an economic development specialist for Meehan.
Lantigua received no contributions from other elected officials during the reporting period.
He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Rivera’s disclosure forms show he followed through on his promise that he would not accept contributions from city employees. Two Lawrence employees donated, but both work for the schools, his forms show. Several city contractors contributed to his campaign, including John and Francis Coady, owners of Coady towing; Robert Sheehan, owner of Sheehan Towing; and Maurice Ryan and David Walton, owner and CEO respectively of Patriot Ambulance
Seventeen of the 57 people who gave to Lantigua during the reporting period work for the city, including seven cops and two firefighters, his disclosure forms show.
Robert Sheehan is the only city contractor who appears on Lantigua’s most recent filing.
The disclosure forms also reveal details about how Lantigua and Rivera focused their efforts in the campaign’s final days.
Both men spent heavily to advertise on Spanish-language radio, television and cable. Of the $25,281 Lantigua spent in the reporting period, $13,280 went to Costa Eagle Broadcasting, Entravision, Gois Broadcasting and Television Dominicana. He also spent $1,942 to send birthday cards to constituents, a hallmark practice of his campaign organization.
Rivera more than matched Lantigua’s radio, TV and cable spending, including $13,360 he spent at Entravision for an advertising blitz in October.
He also spent generously on “constituent gifts,” including cigars ($126), liquor ($556) and flowers ($528), his disclosure forms show. Rivera also sent gifts from Build-a-Bear Workshop in Boston ($39), Whirlaway Sports Center in Methuen ($114), Target ($90) and Walgreens ($60).
Lantigua lent his campaign $500. Rivera lent his campaign $43.70.
In all through last year, Rivera raised $124,872 and spent $114,635 to unseat Lantigua.
Lantigua raised $84,708 and spent $83,742. Both men began their campaigns with about $15,000 already in the bank.
The $30,703 Rivera’s campaign organization now has on hand is nearly twice the $16,249 balance held by Lantigua’s campaign organization. Lantigua hasn’t said whether he will seek public office again, but if he seeks a comeback, he may likely try to reclaim the statehouse seat he held before he ran for mayor.
The seat is now held by Marcos Devers, who was one of the six candidates to run in the preliminary election for mayor in September. Devers has $1,413 in the bank.
Rivera said he’ll be ready for a rematch should Lantigua seek one, then backtracked to say he has not made up his mind about whether he would seek a second term.
“We’ll run a well-funded re-election campaign” if he does run again, Rivera said. “We have to make sure we’re ready when we make that decision.”