When Representative John Tierney’s wife pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges of helping her brother falsify his tax filings, it was an unsettling October surprise for the Salem Democrat. But Tierney’s Republican opponent at the time, Bill Hudak, could not capitalize. A far-right candidate dogged by image problems of his own — like publicity about a sign he once put on his lawn comparing Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden — Hudak lost by a wide margin.
But Tierney’s bid for a ninth term has been far more difficult. Patrice Tierney’s legal proceedings generated a stream of potentially damaging headlines, and the congressman is facing a far more formidable opponent this year.
Richard R. Tisei, a 49-year-old Republican real estate agent, is a moderate with 26 years in the state Legislature and the full backing of his party. And unlike Tierney’s last challenger, Tisei ran a major campaign before.
Observers say the race is shaping up to be the state’s most competitive House election this year, more so than the highly publicized contest between Joseph Kennedy III and a field of others to fill the seat vacated by longtime Democratic congressman Barney Frank.
GOP sees Tierney as wounded, beatable
March 16, 2012 | By Noah Bierman