Sec. Galvin orders hand recounts of 2 Mass. House races


The 1st Middlesex District and the 2nd Essex District will undergo recounts before Dec. 10.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin ordered hand recounts of two state House of Representatives races Wednesday.

Local election officials in the 2nd Essex District and the 1st Middlesex District will need to complete recounts of the two extremely tight races by Saturday, Dec. 10.

The 2nd Essex District seat is currently held by state Rep. Lenny Mirra, a five-term Georgetown Republican. He leads his Democratic challenger, Kristin Kassner, by just 10 votes, according to Galvin’s office.

The 1st Middlesex District seat is currently vacant, but was last held by republican Sheila Harrington. She resigned in February to become a clerk magistrate.

According to Galvin’s office, democrat Margaret Scarsdale leads republican Andrew Shepherd by just 17 votes. Republicans have held this seat for nearly 40 years.

Both districts were significantly altered during the 2020 cycle redistricting process.

The 2nd Essex District used to include Newbury, West Newbury, Georgetown, and Merrimac. It is now centered around Ipswich.

The 1st Middlesex District used to include Ashby, Pepperell, Dunstable, and Groton. It now includes part of Lunenberg and only part of Groton.

If the current frontrunners stay ahead, both parties would get another seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, bringing the totals to 133 Democrats and 26 Republicans.

This would be the worst margin for republicans since 2009. According to The Boston Globe, in 2010, the Tea Party helped the party double their numbers in the chamber.

Mirra was the only House member to vote against the proposed redistricting map. He told the Globe last week that he “got totally screwed.”

A district-wide recount can only be ordered if the difference in votes is less than 0.5%. In the 2nd Essex District race, the difference between the candidates is 0.04%, according to Galvin’s office. In the 1st Middlesex District race, the difference between the candidates is 0.08%.

Candidates in both district submitted recount petitions, Galvin’s office said. All recounts are open to public observation.

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