Judge Dismisses Rep. Mirra’s Challenge of One-Vote Loss; Mirra Files Appeal

State Rep. Leonard Mirra. (WHAV News file photograph.)

By Chris Lisinski, State House News Service

A Superior Court judge dismissed Republican Rep. Lenny Mirra’s legal challenge after a recount flipped his 10-vote reelection victory to a single-vote loss, but Mirra’s lawyer appealed the decision.

Essex Superior Court Associate Justice Thomas Dreschler tossed Mirra’s complaint Friday, one day after writing a 10-page order denying Mirra’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented Democrat Kristin Kassner from being sworn in as the next state representative for the 2nd Essex District on Wednesday.

Dreschler said he believes the court does not have jurisdiction at this point, after the Governor’s Council and Gov. 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 Jan. 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 Jan. 4, 2023.”

Mirra’s attorney, former state Rep., Plymouth County District Attorney and U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Michael Sullivan, on Friday filed a motion appealing Dreschler’s decision to dismiss the case.

The redrawn district 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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