EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 27, 2013

Lantigua asks rivals to oversee election

LAWRENCE — Mayor William Lantigua yesterday reached out to two bitter political rivals in an 11th-hour effort to restore a quorum to the disabled board that oversees elections in the city in time for the special primary election for U.S. Senator on April 30.

Half the effort flopped immediately because one of the men Lantigua attempted to recruit to fill the two vacancies on the Board of Registrars is not enrolled in a political party. The two empty seats on the four-member board are reserved for Republicans. Democrats hold the other two seats.

In his effort to restock the board yesterday, Lantigua attempted to recruit David Abdoo, who ran against Lantigua in 2009 and is considering running again this year, and former Mayor Michael Sullivan, who Lantigua regularly blames for the mess he said he inherited.

In a letter emailed to both men, Lantigua said the need to restore the quorum on the board was “urgent.”

Abdoo is not enrolled in a political party, making him ineligible to fill either of the vacant seats. Sullivan is a Republican and is eligible.

“He’s asking me to apply?” Abdoo said yesterday, hearing of Lantigua’s invitation for the first time from The Eagle-Tribune. “Michael Sullivan too? I’m profoundly surprised.”

Lantigua refused to debate Abdoo in the 2009 mayoral campaign, saying he “hasn’t earned it.” Abdoo received 46 percent of the vote. On Dec. 29, one day after Lantigua announced he would run for a second term, Abdoo dismissed him as “delusional” for thinking he could win it.

“There is not a demand for his return,” Abdoo said at the time. “This is just another example of a man that’s tone deaf to the world around him.”

Lantigua and Sullivan also have little affection for each other. Most recently, in his Feb. 5 State of the City address, Lantigua said his success balancing three budgets was “hard to do when you come into a city facing a $30 million deficit.” (In fact, the deficit was $24 million).

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