Rivera found victory in his distant-second place showing, repeatedly pointing out that 52 percent of the voters in the preliminary election chose someone other than Lantigua and promising to win them over by yesterday’s general election.
Three of the four other challengers in the preliminary election – state Rep. Marcos Devers, firefighter Juan “Manny” Gonzalez and inventor James O’Donoghue - helped Rivera deliver on that promise by campaigning for him over the last seven weeks and were at his side last night.
After claiming victory, Rivera began distinguishing himself from Lantigua by saying he would resign his job at BirdDog Solutions of Andover, a shipping consultant where he is a marketing manager, before he takes office early in January. The string of controversies that marked the Lantigua administration began on his first day in office, when he refused to resign his statehouse seat. His colleagues in Boston eventually forced him out by threatening to withhold permission for the city to borrow $21 million in operating deficits accumulated under former Mayor Michael Sullivan.
“I’m not going to hold two jobs,” Rivera said.
He also said his first task when he takes office will be “to do what I said – figure out how to put more cops on the street.”
At least part of the delay in counting the vote last night was caused by the breakdown of voting machines in at least three polling places, including E2 in South Lawrence West, where 90 votes had to be hand counted, and A4 in Prospect Hill.
A total turnout figure was not available, but the 15,190 people who cast ballot for mayor represent 40.3 percent of the city’s 37,672 registered voters.