One can’t have many worse days that the one experienced by Congressman John Tierney on Tuesday.
Waking up to the news that The Boston Globe, a bastion of the state’s liberal establishment, had endorsed his Republican opponent, had to hurt. And the salve provided by words of praise from a bevy of Gloucester pols later that morning gave only temporary relief as word arrived that Tierney’s wife, Patrice, had been involved in a car accident in Danvers.
According to police, she was not at fault, and fortunately, her injuries were not serious. But the scare capped a campaign that has to rank as the most painful in the more than 16 years the Salem Democrat has represented the North Shore in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has not been seriously challenged since his rematch with Danvers Republican Peter Torkildsen in 1998, yet today finds himself in the fight of his life against former legislator and lieutenant governor candidate Richard Tisei of Wakefield.
It’s not just the unfavorable publicity generated by Patrice Tierney’s having helped manage some of the money generated by her bookmaking brother’s offshore gambling enterprise. The incumbent has found himself the victim of a changing political environment that includes super PACs capable of paying vast sums of money to finance negative advertising aimed at those candidates they dislike, and a redistricting plan — drafted by Tierney’s fellow Democrats on Beacon Hill, no less — that left his district light in the type of urban Democrats upon whom his campaigns have historically relied, and more heavily weighted in favor of independents and suburban Republicans.
Big Labor is pulling out all the stops in an effort to see Tierney re-elected. But will it be enough?
Both presidential candidates shared a stage in Manhattan a few days prior to that final encounter and were able to have some fun at the expense of both themselves and their respective opponent.
For instance, Obama said he felt well-rested for the second debate “after the really long nap I had” in the first one. And noting that the race will likely come down to how the candidates fare in a few swing states like Ohio and Florida, the president wondered, “What are we doing here?” (New York, like Massachusetts, is considered solidly in Obama’s corner.)
As for Mitt Romney, who was dressed in the formal attire required at the annual dinner to benefit New York City’s Catholic charities, he said it was “nice to finally relax and wear what Ann and I wear around the house.” He added that he was surprised Obama hadn’t brought Vice President Joe Biden to the jokefest “because he’ll laugh at anything.”
Local Democrats are lining up behind Gloucester’s Eileen Duff in her bid to take over the seat on the Governor’s Council being vacated by Mary-Ellen Manning. They’re sponsoring a fundraiser Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Black Lobster restaurant next to the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Salem.
Duff , who has deep Peabody roots, is opposed by Maura Ciardiello of Haverhill, whose father, Bill, is a longtime city councilor in that city and great pal of former Beverly Mayor Jack Monahan.
Nelson Benton spent 40 years covering politics on the North Shore before retiring from The Salem News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.