SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 27, 2012

On campaign trail, Tisei receives warm welcome in Ipswich

This is the second of two stories about the 6th District congressional candidates campaigning locally.

IPSWICH — It’s like a red carpet Hollywood event as flash bulbs light up the Clam Box in Ipswich Thursday evening. There are three photographers, one from the campaign, one from the New York Times and another from The Salem News, snapping away as bewildered customers down piles of fried seafood.

It’s a far cry from the “lonely days when I was all by myself,” Republican Richard Tisei says, referring to last winter when he was just beginning his quest to become the 6th District congressman.

Now when he arrives somewhere, there’s a palpable buzz.

“A campaign is really about putting together the building blocks the first couple of months, and then it really begins to gel,” says Tisei, who knows something about campaigns, having won 13 straight terms in the state Legislature in a mostly Democratic district. “I started off in January, February and March and there was much less interest than in the last couple of weeks when everyone is tuned in.

“I started off a bit obscure in this neck of the woods.”

From the smiles and greetings, it’s clear that Tisei, who represented Wakefield, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham and Lynnfield in the state Legislature, has made significant gains in this neck of the woods.

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about” in the election, says Judi Mulholland of Ipswich, adding that her friend has a big Tisei sign in his yard.

Tisei was at The Clam Box Thursday at the behest of his friend, Republican state Rep. Bradford Hill of Ipswich, who holds an annual fundraiser there every year.

“I’ve been dying to meet you,” owner Marina Aggelakis says, grinning like it’s Christmas morning as Tisei walks through the kitchen door. “Want some fried clams?”

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