A Superior Court judge dismissed Republican state Rep. Lenny Mirra’s legal challenge after a recount flipped his 10-vote reelection victory to a single-vote loss, while another Republican House candidate defeated narrowly has launched his own lawsuit.
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 Second 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 January 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 January 4, 2023.”
Mirra’s attorney, former state representative, 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.
Townsend Republican Andrew Shepherd is also fighting in court after a recount declared him the loser to Democrat Margaret Scarsdale by seven votes in an election for an open Middlesex County House seat.
Shepherd alleged in a complaint filed Dec. 23 that signatures on some mail-in ballots do not match those voters’ registration signatures, that Groton officials oversaw a “disjointed” recount that “likely resulted in the tallying and reporting of incorrect results,” and that there were extra, unexplained ballots in Lunenburg.
He asked a Middlesex County Superior Court judge to order a new election “to preserve the integrity of the race.”