If you’re a political junkie who’s been waiting for the Boston mayor’s race to take off, you’re probably a bit disappointed. So far, Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson’s quest to unseat Mayor Marty Walsh has been decidedly short on drama.

So here’s a modest proposal: instead, direct your attention to the gritty, heavily Latino city of Lawrence, where the 2017 mayoral election is shaping up to be downright Shakespearean.

Back in 2013, Dan Rivera told Lawrence voters that the numerous controversies dogging then-Mayor William Lantigua were holding their city back.

“When you can’t get industry to come in here and talk to you because you’re toxic, and you can’t get state and federal leaders to bring you a check for any special program, that’s a problem,” Rivera said.

The argument worked — barely: that fall, Rivera ousted Lantigua by a scant 81 votes.

Four years later, Rivera is seeking re-election. He says that under his watch, Lawrence is clearly making progress.

“In Lawrence, there’s leadership,” Rivera said. “There’s not tomfoolery. There’s not corruption, it’s not a backwater Third World country being run by somebody who’s crazy.”

Among other things, Rivera touts upgrades to the city’s credit rating, the hiring of 23 new police officers, and $200 million in new development.

But some big-name critics dispute that rosy picture. Among them: William Lantigua himself. After his loss, Lantigua spent extended periods of time in Florida and the Dominican Republic. But now he’s back in the city he used to run, trying to reclaim his old job.

“This is my hometown — this is where my love is,” Lantigua told WGBH News.

After a recount confirmed Rivera’s narrow victory, Lantigua says, he promised to refrain from public criticism of the new mayor. But, he added, “The outcry of the people, the call of the people never stopped, and that’s why we’re here. [Rivera] has not done what he promised to do.”

The focus of Lantigua’s challenge is crime, which he says has grown markedly worse since Rivera took over.

“It’s scary,” he said. “It’s worse [than] it’s ever been. The discontent, the fear that people feel — it’s bad.”

Lantigua, who exuded a tightly-wound charisma during his heyday, seems to have mellowed a bit. But judging from the enthusiastic response he got from passers-by during his street corner interview with WGBH news, his populist appeal abides.

Voters who aren’t satisfied with the Lawrence status quo may have other options. Four other people have pulled papers to run, including City Councilor Modesto Maldonado, who’s making a law and order pitch of his own.

“Crime has increased substantially. Drug distribution and transactions take place on a daily basis,” Maldonado said. “We are in danger of losing control of our city.” 

When Lantigua ran Lawrence, Maldonado was considered a staunch mayoral ally. Today, though, he accuses the ex-mayor of abandoning Lawrence after his ouster.

“Obviously, he wasn’t here — he returned to the [Dominican Republic] originally,” Maldonado said. “I have been here taking the heat for the past three years.”

Also in the mayoral mix: Jorge Jaime, who used to be Lantigua’s parks foreman; physician Alcibiades Acosta; and police officer William Green, who’s sparred publicly with Rivera and the Lawrence Police Department for years.

Data from the Lawrence Police Department raises doubts about whether crime has, in fact, grown worse during Rivera’s time in office. Still, Rivera acknowledges that crime is a concern.

But he blames the opioid epidemic currently gripping the state — and says that if Lantigua were still in charge, things would be worse.

“Bringing Willie Lantigua back,” Rivera said, “would be the worst thing we could possibly do.”