Mass. House Agrees To Let State Rep Who Lost By One Vote Stay, For Now

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — In addition to waiting to swear in two Democrats who won their elections via narrow recounts, House leaders also moved Wednesday to keep Republican Rep. Lenny Mirra -- who lost one of those contests and appears to have fallen short in his latest legal challenges -- involved for at least a little bit longer.

A special committee tasked with reviewing the returns of votes issued a report during the first session of the 2023-2024 term recommending that Mirra continue to represent the Second Essex District until a final determination is made about the race's winner. Representatives then adopted that report.

Mirra led by 10 votes in the initial batch of results, and a district-wide recount flipped the result to a one-vote victory for Kristin Kassner, a Democrat.

The Georgetown Republican filed a lawsuit challenging some of the ballots, which an Essex Superior Court dismissed. When Mirra appealed the case, an Appeals Court judge also ruled against him, and Supreme Judicial Court Justice Elspeth Cypher on Wednesday denied the five-term representative's emergency petition to vacate the Appeals Court ruling.

Mirra could not be reached immediately for comment Wednesday evening.

House Speaker Ronald Mariano announced Tuesday evening he would temporarily delay the inauguration of Kassner and fellow Democrat Margaret Scarsdale, who also won her race by an extremely tight margin that went to a recount. Scarsdale's opponent, Republican Andrew Shepherd, also challenged the outcome in court, and a judge has not yet ruled in that case.

Mariano told reporters he has not given the special committee -- whose members are Democrat Rep. Michael Day of Stoneham, Democrat Rep. Daniel Ryan of Charlestown and House Minority Leader Brad Jones of North Reading -- a deadline to complete its review of the recounts and legal challenges.

"I haven't paid that much attention to the details of their cases, so we're just following the law. They still had legal options. We don't want to take an option away from anyone," Mariano said. "We felt that everyone should have the opportunity to explore the full length of legal options that come with the decisions."

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