SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS – The hypothetical election of U.S. House candidate Richard Tisei would be a collision of “firsts.” Tisei would be the first Massachusetts Republican elected to the U.S. House in 15 years. He would also be the first openly-gay Republican elected to a term in Congress.
A family scandal surrounding the incumbent, U.S. Rep. John Tierney, a Democrat, gives Republicans their first solid-shot at the House seat, which represents the state’s 6th congressional district. Tierney’s wife has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting an illegal gambling operation run by her brothers, one of whom was convicted this summer of racketeering; the other is now a fugitive from justice. Both men claim that Tierney was aware of their illegal activities.
Tisei, who has served 26 years in the state legislature, including a stint as Senate minority leader, told NPR, “When Gov. Romney was here, I voted with him half the time, and I voted against him half the time,” adding, “I have no problem working with Nancy Pelosi. Just because she’s in the opposition, I’m not gonna poke her in the eye.” Despite that bipartisan language, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner held a fundraiser for Tisei, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has delivered close to $1 million for a TV ad campaign that targets Tierney.