EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 11, 2013

Lantigua, Rivera lead in the race for campaign cash

LAWRENCE — Mayor William Lantigua and City Councilor Daniel Rivera are running almost even in the race for campaign contributions and are far outpacing the field of other candidates in what they’re raising and spending.

Lantigua’s more robust spending has left Rivera with nearly $7,000 more to spend as they head into Tuesday’s preliminary election, when the top two of the six candidates in the race will move on to the general election on Nov. 5.

Lantigua began the year with $15,683 in the bank and raised another $38,865. He spent $33,777, leaving him with $20,771 on Aug. 30, the financial disclosure report he filed late Monday shows.

Rivera began the year with $14,131 and raised $36,596. He spent $23,570, leaving him with $27,157, his disclosure report shows.

Three other candidates lag in what they have raised and spent.

State Rep. Marcos Devers has raised $10,625, including $4,000 he lent his campaign. He also has received $3,300 in contributions other than cash, most of it from talk show hosts on local Spanish-language radio shows who run his ads without charge. He has $6,005 on hand.

City firefighter Juan “Manny” Gonzalez has raised $5,073, including a $1,333 loan from himself. He has $2,417 on hand.

Inventor James O’Donoghue raised $1,236, including a $700 loan from a family member. He has $38 in the bank.

Accountant Nester De Jesus did not file a report by Tuesday night’s deadline.

Lantigua joined the other candidates in filing their reports with the State Office of Campaign and Political Finance a few hours before Tuesday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline, but the mayor’s report is likely to receive added scrutiny from OCPF and Attorney General Martha Coakley.

On Aug. 27, Coakley filed a suit against Lantigua accusing him of a laundry list of campaign finance violations dating to 2008, including allegations that he accepted illegal cash contributions; failed to disclose in-kind services provided by a catering hall, a weekly newspaper and a radio station; and allowed a city hall secretary — now his wife — and a Methuen cop to serve as financial officers in his campaign. Public employees are not allowed to hold official positions in campaign organizations or to solicit donations.

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