, Salem, MA

July 17, 2013

Race against Tierney picks up momentum

DeFranco plans congressional run; Tisei leaving 'calendar open'

By Bethany Bray

---- — Candidates are starting to line up to challenge Democratic Congressman John Tierney next year.

Marisa DeFranco, an immigration attorney from Middleton, announced this week she will run against Tierney for the Democratic nomination for the 6th District seat. She is the second Democrat to announce a primary challenge; Seth Moulton, a Marblehead native, businessman and former Marine, has already started his campaign, although the election is 16 months away.

It’s looking like Republican Richard Tisei, a Realtor and former state senator from Wakefield, is likely to run, as well.

“(Running again) is something I’m giving a lot of serious thought and consideration,” Tisei said yesterday. “... I’m leaving my calendar open for the next 18 months.”

Tisei lost to Tierney last fall by less than 1 percentage point.

“Last year’s race was one of the closest in the country,” Tisei said. “Since the election, pretty much wherever I’ve gone, people have come up to me out of the blue and said I should think about running again.”

Tierney, now serving his ninth term in Congress, plans to run for re-election.

DeFranco, Moulton and Tierney will face off at the Democratic primary in September 2014, assuming they all collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.

DeFranco, who announced her candidacy this week, said she brings problem-solving skills, a strong work ethic and commitment to the underserved.

”People know me and know I have worked alongside their small businesses, their families, children in foster care (to) get down to work to solve their problems,” DeFranco said. “In the real world, you have to perform, especially when you’re self-employed like I am. ... That’s what’s continually wrong with Congress — they continue to avoid doing people’s business, and nothing’s being done.”

DeFranco ran for U.S. Senate last year but failed to get enough support at the state Democratic convention in June to challenge now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a primary election.

DeFranco, 42, attended the University of Dayton and Trinity College in Dublin and earned her law degree from Suffolk University in Boston. She has practiced immigration law for 17 years. She said she’s running for Congress “to help make people’s lives better every day.”

”I have been, and always will be, a voice for everyday people — especially people who have no voice,” she said. “(I’m running) to bring my proven track record of taking on hard cases and winning against the powerful federal government, and taking that track record of success and real solutions to Congress.”

Tierney has continued to raise campaign funds since he was re-elected last fall. Federal campaign finance records show he finished the first quarter of 2013 with $225,889 cash on hand.

Moulton, a 34-year-old Iraq War veteran with three degrees from Harvard, has begun to line up campaign staff and volunteers, a website and social media outreach. He recently moved to Salem. This is his first run for elected office.

Tierney released a statement to media outlets last week as Moulton launched his campaign, saying he looks forward to “debating the issues that matter” during the 2014 campaign and “welcome(s) people of all parties to the campaign to represent the residents and families of the 6th District in Congress.”

The 6th District contains 39 cities and towns in northeast Massachusetts, stretching from Bedford and North Andover to Gloucester and Amesbury.

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.