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Lantigua still weighing recount challenge

William Lantigua spoke to the press on Saturday after losing the recount to challenger Daniel Rivera.

Wendy Maeda/Globe staff

William Lantigua spoke to the press on Saturday after losing the recount to challenger Daniel Rivera.

Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua said he will announce on a Spanish-language radio show late Monday afternoon whether he will challenge the results of a recount in the city’s mayoral race.

Lantigua did not concede after he lost Saturday’s recount to challenger Daniel Rivera by a slightly wider margin than in the Nov. 5 election, but he has not said what he will do next.

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Rivera defeated Lantigua by 81 votes in Saturday’s recount. Before that, he had been leading the mayor by 58 votes.

The secretary of state’s office said the recount is final, but Lantigua could challenge the result in court.

Saturday night, Lantigua posted on Facebook that he would announce his position on the recount at 1 p.m. Sunday on the La Mega 1400 AM talk-radio show. He arrived 45 minutes late to the show, apologizing and saying that he had not had enough time to make a decision. He said he had just left a meeting with his lawyers and would have another meeting on the matter Monday.

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The decision-making process, he said, was taking longer than anticipated.

“We want to explain to you in detail all those things and what our decisions are,” Lantigua said in brief remarks in Spanish on the talk-radio show.

“The numbers remain practically the same,” he continued. “Some things were cleared up; in others, doubts emerged. But tomorrow afternoon, I want to respect the opinion of the meeting that we will have in the morning.”

Lantigua said he will address the public at 5:30 p.m. Monday and reveal his decision on the El Tapon radio show on La Mega 1400 AM.

“Tomorrow afternoon on El Tapon, we will address all of you and explain not only the details of what happened yesterday [Saturday], but also the analysis of the decision and the steps that we will take,” he said.

Lantigua, 58, was elected the city’s first Latino mayor in 2009 after serving as a state representative. But his term has been overshadowed by controversy. Several supporters have been indicted on public corruption charges, though Lantigua has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Lantigua’s election attorney, Sal Tabit, said Sunday evening that the mayor was working to keep his supporters informed but had not reached a decision on whether he might bring a lawsuit challenging the election results.

“I think that he has obviously a substantial amount of support within the Latino community that listens to Spanish radio, and he wanted to address them,” Tabit said. “That’s what he’s doing today, and then [he] is taking the night and will make whatever his announcement’s going to be tomorrow.”

Tabit said a legal challenge “could be based on a number of issues,” including so-called spoiled ballots.

“There’s no suggestion at this point that anything untoward occurred with those ballots,” Tabit said, “but given some of the things that were witnessed by our observers with regard to those spoiled ballots, I think it’s something that the mayor just wanted to observe and address with legal counsel.”

Rivera, 42, said in a phone interview Sunday evening that the recount was the final step in the election process and it was time for Lawrence to move forward.

Maria Sacchetti can be reached at msacchetti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @mariasacchetti. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.
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