Lenny Mirra-vs.-Kristin Kassner State Rep Race One of Several Massachusetts Elections Decided By One Vote

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2023/02/02/lenny-mirra-vs-kristin-kassner-state-rep-race-one-of-several-massachusetts-elections-decided-by-one-vote/

Are there a lot of close elections in Massachusetts?


Once in a while, however, elections are close. Sometimes, our state even has elections decided by just one vote.

Here are five examples of elections in Massachusetts that were decided by just one vote.


1.  Second Essex District 2022 — Kristin Kassner will soon take office in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Kassner, a Hamilton Democrat, is doing so because she unseated now-former state representative Lenny Mirra (R-Georgetown) in an election decided by just one vote. Kassner got 11,763 votes, while Mirra got 11,762 votes.

Mirra challenged the election results, hoping to toss at least one ballot to either win the election outright or go to a special election. However, a Massachusetts House of Representatives panel voted 2-1 along party lines to seat Kassner; Democrats Michael Seamus Day of Stoneham and Daniel Ryan of Charlestown voted to seat Kassner, while House minority leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading) voted against the measure.

Mirra maintains that if the ballots were closely checked, more votes for Kassner would be tossed than votes for Mirra. A net swing of two votes would have given him victory.

The Second Essex District includes:  Georgetown, Hamilton, Ipswich, Newbury, Rowley, and Topsfield (Precinct 1 only). 


2.  Boston City Council 2019 — Three of the four incumbent at-large Boston city councilors had no problem winning re-election in 2019: Michelle Wu (41,643 votes), Annissa Essaibi George (34,074 votes), and Michael Flaherty (33,269 votes). 

The other incumbent faced an uphill battle for re-election:  Althea Garrison, a transgender conservative and perennial candidate. Garrison got a spot on the city council after finishing fifth in the 2017 race; Garrison replaced U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Hyde Park) on the Boston City Council when Pressley went to Congress in January 2019.

Garrison finished seventh in the re-election bid (16,175).

Julia Mejia came in fourth place in the at-large race in the general election, earning the final available seat. Mejia eked out Alejandra St. Guillen by just one vote (22,492 votes to 22,491 votes) in the general election. That was the case even though St. Guillen received more votes (11,910) than Mejia (10,799) in the September 2019 preliminary election. However, since they both finished in the top eight in the preliminary round, they advanced to the general election.


3.  Governor’s Council Third District 1988 — Herbert Connolly can blame himself for his loss.

Connolly was first elected to the governor’s council in 1968 and had no problem winning re-election until 1988.

Connolly faced a Democratic primary challenge from then-Lowell city councilor Robert B. Kennedy in 1988. It came at a time when Connolly was living out of the district in Framingham but claimed to have an apartment in Newton that he used as his official residence.

Kennedy beat Connolly by just one vote in the primary, 14,716 to 14,715 votes. The kicker here:  Connolly said he was so busy campaigning that he forgot to vote for himself. As did his wife.

Had they both voted — and both voted for Connolly — he would have won re-election.

Kennedy went on to easily defeat his Republican opponent Jody Dow in the general election (63 percent to 37 percent).

The Governor’s Council is an eight-member elected board that confirms judges and approves prison sentence commutations, among other responsibilities.


4.  Manchester-by-the-Sea Selectman 2022 — Jeffrey Bodmer-Turner almost won his re-election bid for selectman in Manchester-by-the-Sea last year.

The key word here is “almost.” 

He ran unopposed for an open selectman seat in 2019 and won.

However, when Bodmer-Turner sought re-election in 2022, he faced competition.

Out of the three candidates running for two selectmen’s seats on May 17, 2022, Bodmer-Turner finished in third place. Brian Sollosy ousted him by one vote:  700 votes to 699 votes; Sollosy was on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals before running for selectman.

Manchester-by-the-Sea is a coastal town in the Cape Ann peninsula region of Essex County with a population of about 5,400 people. It’s southwest of Gloucester, Massachusetts.


5.  Brookline School Committee 2017 — Six years ago, Brookline elected Julie Schreiner-Oldham (3,042 votes) to the Brookline School Committee along with Michael Glover (3,297) and Suzanne Federspiel (3,687 votes).

While Glover and Federspiel had no problem winning the election, Schreiner-Oldham prevailed over the fourth candidate in the race:  Paul Harris, who received 3,041 votes. That’s one vote less than Schreiner-Oldham got.


Typically, in Massachusetts, your one vote isn’t going to make a difference in an election, but let’s not pretend it could never make a difference. It has happened before and it may happen again.


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