WAKEFIELD — Richard Tisei announced his candidacy for Congress yesterday by blasting John Tierney for his support of Obamacare, but he also said he hopes to steer clear of the personal mud-slinging that characterized their battle two years ago.
Tisei, a Wakefield Republican who served for 26 years in the state Legislature, came within 1 percentage point of knocking off Tierney for the 6th Congressional seat in 2012.
The campaign was dominated by charges surrounding an illegal gambling business run by Tierney’s brothers-in-law and the role of his wife, Patrice, in managing her brother’s bank account.
While not guaranteeing that the issue won’t come up again this year, Tisei said he’s planning to focus on Tierney’s legislative record.
“I’m going to spend most of my time talking about his judgments on issues in Washington,” Tisei said. “That’s what I really intend to concentrate on. One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t control what comes out. To some extent, I hope that doesn’t happen again this time.”
Tisei made his announcement in a room packed with about 125 supporters in the Americal Civic Center, a former armory building in his hometown of Wakefield. Tisei said it was the same room where he launched his political career 30 years ago as a candidate for state representative at the age of 21.
“When I went door-to-door, they thought I was the paperboy,” he said.
Tisei’s expected entry into the race likely means another tough challenge for Tierney, the Salem Democrat who is in his ninth term in Congress.
Tierney’s office released a statement yesterday saying Tisei “would be just another vote” for House Speaker John Boehner and “Tea Party Republicans.”
“The people of the 6th District have already rejected Richard Tisei’s brand of divisive partisan politics,” Tierney spokesman Daniel Rubin said. “Richard’s out-of-touch agenda would mean leaving middle-class families out in the cold while doubling down on jobs-killing budget cuts and rolling back protections for seniors, children and veterans.”