The state’s chief elections officer today said that the Tea Party candidate who barely missed qualifying for the Republican primary ballot at Saturday’s GOP convention had contacted his office and would probably have legal standing should he decide to file a lawsuit challenging the results.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin, a Democrat, said “there is probably jurisdiction” for Mark Fisher to dispute the razor-thin result in court. Fisher fell about six votes short — out of more than 2,500 cast by convention delegates — from joining Charlie Baker on the September Republican primary ballot, the state party said on Saturday.
Fisher’s campaign manager said Sunday they were considering lawsuits against the state Republican Party.
Galvin said there is not a way for Fisher to challenge results with the Secretary of State’s office. Rather, he said, it would be up to Fisher to question the result with the state party, and subsequently file a court action, if he deems it necessary.
Galvin said an attorney for the Fisher campaign had contacted his office to essentially ask, “what now?”
At the state Republican convention on Saturday in Boston, Fisher needed to receive 15 percent of the 2,533 votes cast by delegates to be included on the September primary ballot, according to the state party.
He fell short of that threshold by less than half a percentage point, party officials declared more than an hour and a half after initial results had been announced. In a press release, the state party said there were 2,095 votes for Baker, 374 for Fisher and there were 64 “blank votes.”
The blank votes — which the state party’s executive director describes as instances where delegates voted present, supporting neither Baker nor Fisher — have been a major point of contention. Fisher’s campaign has alleged that the procedure for blank votes changed during the convention.
Executive director Rob Cunningham has said the rules did not change and that there was “full transparency for the entire process for both campaigns.”
He has acknowledged that there was some confusion around the blank votes but said some ballots that were initially, and erroneously, counted as blank were not included in the final tally.
Spencer Kimball, a political consultant and an attorney who is a paid Fisher strategist, said the campaign was gathering information today, including reaching out to Galvin’s office.
“We’ve spoken with a couple of other legal beagles and discussed the possibility of taking this to civil court and challenging the usage of blanks” in the convention vote.
Kimball said the campaign would decide, one way or the other, on a lawsuit by the end of the week.
This afternoon, Cunningham said he had not heard from Fisher or his campaign nor had he contacted them.
But, he said, “we look forward to hearing about the next chapter of Mark Fisher’s political career.”Joshua Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.