A Suffolk Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered a recount of votes cast for mayor in the Nov. 3 election, when incumbent Dan Rizzo lost reelection by 118 votes.
Judge Heidi B. Brieger issued a verbal ruling late Thursday afternoon, saying the Revere Election Commission must hold the recount before Jan. 4, when the city’s inauguration ceremonies are scheduled, according to a lawyer for Rizzo.
“My client was entitled to a recount and the judge agreed,” Sharna Dolan Favuzza, a Boston lawyer, said by telephone Thursday night.
Rizzo could not be reached for comment.
The first-term mayor has also said he is interested in running for the state Senate seat being vacated by Anthony E. Petrucelli, an East Boston Democrat. Favuzza declined to say if the recount and Rizzo’s possible Senate candidacy are linked.
“His focus now is only on the recount,” she said.
Rizzo lost reelection to another four-year term to City Councilor Brian Arrigo, by a vote of 5,209, to 5,091. There were also 11 write-ins and 111 blanks out of more than 10,000 votes cast for mayor, according to the election results.
Arrigo is confident the recount will not change the outcome.
“I don’t see too much changing,” he said in an interview Thursday night. “I think the sooner and quicker that this is done, the better off the city will be. It’s been dragging on.”
Rizzo filed a request for a recount with the commission on Nov. 13. But he submitted the paperwork by fax from the Caribbean, where he was on vacation.
He also submitted a power of attorney document authorizing his brother, Paul, to file recount petition papers on his behalf.
His unusual method of making the request — via fax — prompted City Election Commissioner Diane R. Colella to seek a legal opinion from the secretary of state’s office.
At an election commission meeting on Nov. 23, Colella stated, “It was the opinion of the legal counsel [from the secretary of state’s office] that the recount petitions were not in conformity with Mass. General Laws.”
But the four-member commission took no action on Rizzo’s request, meaning the recount could go forward only if Rizzo took the matter to court.
In court papers, Rizzo alleged that the commission’s lack of action “effectively was a decision not to accept Rizzo’s petition for a recount.”
Colella could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Gregg J. Corbo, a Boston lawyer who represented the election commission in court, also could not be reached for comment.
Commission member Robert N. Scrima, who spoke in favor of holding the recount at last month’s meeting, said the recount likely will be held the week between Christmas and New Year’s.