SALEM — It was the refrain of the song that welcomed a jubilant John Tierney to the stage last night inside the Hawthorne Hotel's grand ballroom in downtown Salem.
"Still the one."
And despite an aggressive challenge from Republican Bill Hudak and legal troubles for his wife that surfaced in the last month of the campaign, Tierney remains just that in the eyes of 6th District voters. With 86 percent of precincts reporting, the Salem Democrat won an eighth term with 58 percent of the vote to Hudak's 42 percent.
Tierney, 59, stepped to the podium, his wife, Patrice, by his side, and thanked his cheering friends, supporters and campaign staff.
"It was a very difficult year electorally across the board," he said. "You have put us on your shoulders and carried us across the finish line and, for that, we are forever grateful."
Tierney won Salem, Peabody, Beverly and Danvers. He struggled in the North Shore's smaller communities, losing Topsfield, Wenham, Hamilton and Boxford.
"I have to admit I was a little nervous," Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said before Tierney took the stage. "It only makes the victory that much sweeter."
It was less than a month ago that Patrice Tierney pleaded guilty to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false federal tax returns. Federal authorities found that she was managing an account full of illegal gambling profits generated by her brother, Robert Eremian. Patrice Tierney faces sentencing in January.
The congressman was never implicated or investigated, and voters chose to stand behind him.
"Bill Hudak didn't realize that he was taking on the entire city of Salem and the entire North Shore when he decided to run against John Tierney," Driscoll said.
It's typically easier than yesterday was for Tierney.