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Candidates seeking recounts in 2 state rep. races

Candidates in two Massachusetts House races, each apparently decided by only 10 votes, want elections officials to take another look at the thousands of ballots cast.

Kristin Kassner of Hamilton, who challenged a sitting North Shore incumbent, and Andrew Shepherd of Townsend, who bid for an open Nashoba Valley seat, submitted petitions asking for districtwide recounts in their contests, according to a spokesperson for Secretary of State William Galvin.

The recounts — and, as a result, a final decision in both districts — might not wrap up for several weeks. Galvin spokesperson Deb O'Malley said the secretary cannot order the recounts until after the Governor's Council, which is scheduled to meet next on Nov. 30, certifies election results.

In both cases, the candidate seeking a recount appears to have fallen less than a dozen votes short. With nearly 20,000 votes counted in the First Middlesex District and more than 23,000 in the Second Essex District, the microscopic margins would both be well below the threshold — one half of one percentage point of all votes — required for a recount.

Zack Gavel, campaign manager for Democrat Margaret Scarsdale of Pepperell, told the News Service she led by 10 votes over Shepherd, the Republican candidate. Both potential newcomers are hoping to win an open district representing Ashby, Dunstable, Pepperell, Townsend and parts of Groton and Lunenburg. Lawmakers reshaped the district during the latest round of redistricting, and its predecessor district was held by Republican Rep. Sheila Harrington of Groton until she resigned to join the judiciary.

Meanwhile, five-term Republican Rep. Leonard Mirra of Georgetown held an identical 10-vote lead over Kassner, according to a News Service tally of publicly available results from the district, which covers Georgetown, Hamilton, Ipswich, Newbury, Rowley and part of Topsfield.

The outcome in the two unresolved races will determine whether Democrats, who already wield supermajority margins in both chambers, cap off a three-, four- or five-seat pickup in the House compared to their margins at the start of the 2021-2022 lawmaking session.

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