Judge Dismisses Massachusetts GOP State Rep Lenny Mirra’s Challenge of His One-Vote Loss

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2023/01/02/judge-dismisses-massachusetts-gop-state-rep-lenny-mirras-challenge-of-his-one-vote-loss/

By Chris Lisinski
State House News Service

A Superior Court judge dismissed Hamilton Republican state representative Lenny Mirra’s legal challenge after a recount flipped his 10-vote reelection victory to a single-vote loss, while another Republican House candidate defeated narrowly has launched his own lawsuit.

Judge Thomas Dreschler tossed Mirra’s complaint Friday, December 30, 2022, one day after writing a 10-page order in Essex Superior Court denying Mirra’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented Kristin Kassner (D-Hamilton) from being sworn in as the next state representative for the Second Essex District on Wednesday, January 4, 2023.

Dreschler said he believes the court does not have jurisdiction at this point, after the Governor’s Council and Governor Charlie Baker certified Kassner’s one-vote victory following the recount, and instead said “the House of Representatives has the final authority to decide a claim to a seat as a representative.”

“Even if this court were to conclude that it has jurisdiction to hear this dispute, the entry of a preliminary injunction in Mirra’s favor would be futile and a waste of judicial and municipal resources,” Dreschler wrote. “For whatever reason, Mirra waited until just before Christmas to file suit, with the swearing-in set to occur on January 4, 2023. While the court could make a judge available for a trial on the merits on an expedited basis, it would be impossible to complete a trial by January 4, 2023.”

Mirra’s attorney, Michael Sullivan, a former Republican state representative, Plymouth County district attorney, and U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, on Friday, December 30 filed a motion appealing Dreschler’s decision to dismiss the case.

Townsend Republican Andrew Shepherd is also fighting in court after a recount declared him the loser to Margaret Scarsdale, a Democrat, by seven votes in an election for an open Middlesex County House seat.

Shepherd alleged in a complaint filed December 23 that signatures on some mail-in ballots do not match those voters’ registration signatures, that Groton officials oversaw a “disjointed” recount that “likely resulted in the tallying and reporting of incorrect results,” and that there were extra, unexplained ballots in Lunenburg.

He asked a Middlesex County Superior Court judge to order a new election “to preserve the integrity of the race.”


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