Rep. Mirra Plans Court Challenge After He Appears to Lose by One Vote Following Recount

State Rep. Leonard Mirra and Gov. Charlie Baker. (Courtesy photograph.)

Democrat Kristin Kassner jumped into the lead over five-term Republican Rep. Leonard Mirra after a district-wide recount erased her narrow deficit and put her ahead by a single vote.

Mirra plans to challenge the result in court.

“It’ll absolutely be a legal challenge,” Mirra said.

Mirra led Kassner by 10 votes out of more than 23,000 cast across the north shore district in the original certified results, a margin well within the legal threshold that allowed her to file for a recount. By the time Topsfield officials finished retabulating ballots from their town’s first precinct—the final batch to be counted—the results flipped and put Kassner up by a lone vote.

Kassner, a Hamilton resident who previously worked as planning director for the town of Burlington, declined to say how many total votes she received or in which of the 2nd Essex District’s communities she picked up the net 11-vote swing until those data are submitted to state elections officials.

“We are not suspicious of anything that ever happened. (The recount) was just really just to ensure that, between humans and machines, we really caught every vote that was counted,” Kassner said.

Mirra’s challenge would extend a monthlong stretch of uncertainty about who will be the next representative for the redrawn district that covers Georgetown, Hamilton, Ipswich, Newbury, Rowley and part of Topsfield.

Following redistricting forced by changes in population, Mirra’s district no longer includes Haverhill, Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury.

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