LAWRENCE - City Councilor Daniel Rivera said today he will challenge Mayor William Lantigua in September's preliminary election.
Rivera said the scandals and indictments at City Hall and what he called Lantigua's arrogance have created an atmosphere so “toxic” that it could cost the city some of the state and federal aid that make up most of its revenues because he said no one wants to be photographed next to Lantigua handing off a check.
“He's embarrassed us in a big way,” Rivera said. “I think people are prepared to go to the polls and vote against him, specifically the Hispanic community.”Lantigua was elected in 2009. He declared his candidacy for re-election on Dec. 28.
Lantigua is the state's first elected Hispanic mayor. Rivera, like Lantigua, is a Dominican.
Rivera, 41, chairs the City Council's budget committee and is a database marketing manager at Birddog Solutions, a shipping and transportation consultant based in Andover.
He said he will need to raise $200,000 to make the race. He had $14,500 in the bank on Dec. 31. Lantigua has $15,684.
About a half dozen others also are considering challenging Lantigua, including David Abdoo, who lost to Lantigua by about 1,000 votes in 2009, and City Councilor Marc Laplante. State Rep. Marcos Devers has declined to say whether he also is considering challenging Lantigua.
Lantigua did not return a phone call for comment.
Rivera said he will formally announce his candidacy at Everett Mills, 15 Union St., at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.