Mirra Out, Kassner In as State Representatives Vote to Settle Disputed Election

Kristin Kassner, a Hamilton Democrat, addresses a special House panel at a Jan. 13 hearing about a challenge Republican Rep. Lenny Mirra filed contesting her one-vote win in a recount. (Chris Lisinski/SHNS.)

Lenny Mirra entered the Massachusetts State House Wednesday as a state representative and left as a constituent.

Representatives voted yesterday to settle last year’s disputed 2nd Essex District race in favor of Democrat Kristin Kassner. Now, Rep.-elect Kassner, a Hamilton Democrat, joins the body as its 160th member. Mirra, a Georgetown Republican, was at his desk for the beginning of Wednesday’s session before walking out of the chamber as the roll calls ending his continued service started to roll in. Reps. Michael Day of Stoneham and Daniel Ryan of Charlestown, who headed a special committee, recommended representatives declare Kassner the winner by a single vote.

Day disputed the view of the third committee member, House Minority Leader Brad Jones, that the body isn’t honoring its oaths.

“Both parties were present at the recount, both had counsel with them and both were afforded the same opportunities to lodge challenges, argue and state their cases supporting their objections, and to observe the decisions made by the registers. Both parties, after the recount, had the same opportunity to appeal the decisions in the courts. For a full week, no party made an attempt to petition the court. Then, as required by law, the governor and council reviewed the returns and certified the results, declaring Ms. Kassner the winner by a single vote,” he told his colleagues.

Day took time to thank Mirra for his service and noted the Georgetown resident himself hasn’t cried foul. “He has been consistent in his position that there was no stealing, rigging or fraud. I commend him for his years of selfless service. He is a man of great character and high integrity. This was a close election. The margin is the slimmest that can be found in any election.”

Jones, whose suggestions to revive the special committee for another look or have a new election were rejected, agreed the outcome is not the result of fraud. He argued, however, local officials made mistakes.

Before redistricting, required by the state’s population growth, the district included Haverhill, Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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