, Salem, MA

February 7, 2014

Benton: TIerney faces a tough field

Nelson Benton
The Salem News

---- — The fourth-quarter numbers were not encouraging for U.S. Rep. John Tierney, but provided plenty of cause for cheer in the camps of Democratic challenger Seth Moulton and Republican Richard Tisei. Both of the latter raised more money in the last three months of 2013 than the veteran incumbent in what many believe will be one of the most hotly contested races of the year nationally.

Though he had already amassed a sizable war chest (more than a half-million dollars), Tierney took in less money ($228,408) in the final quarter than Tisei ($434,768 or Moulton ($253,070). While a Tierney spokesman downplayed the results for what, after all, was only a single quarter, and his candidate has a long history of electoral success, the fact is the Salem Democrat will face well-funded opponents in both the primary and general elections this fall.

Look for Moulton, a Marblehead resident, to roll out his first TV ad shortly; and for Tisei’s efforts to be aided by a variety of independent political action groups that abhor Tierney’s liberal voting record.


Members of the Democratic Party’s liberal/progressive wing are already casting about for a successor to Barack Obama. And, no, despite what many GOPers might think, Hillary Clinton doesn’t fit the bill.

Two names that have been mentioned frequently lately are those of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.


A strong economy would doubtless do a lot more to improve the lot of Point residents (as well as their neighbors in the rest of Salem and throughout the North Shore). But that’s more than even the president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank can deliver.

At least the stock market was in positive territory Tuesday when Eric Rosengren dropped by for a roundtable discussion of the Point Vision and Action Plan, a public-private initiative that recently won $100,000 from the Boston Fed’s Working Cities Challenge program.

Such partnerships go back a long way in Salem, most notably to the effort more than a quarter-century ago by a coalition of government, business and institutional leaders known as The Salem Partnership to boost tourism by expanding the role and footprint of the National Park Service in the city. Current Mayor Kim Driscoll has done plenty to encourage these kinds of cooperative venture by, for instance, getting involved in the state’s Gateway Cities program.

Visits by key economic players like Rosengren and projects like a major expansion of the Salem Waterfront Hotel announced this week don’t happen by accident.


I have to echo former Peabody City Councilor Fred Murtagh’s praise, voiced in a recent letter on this page, for local activist Bill Power. Recently departed for the fields and meadows of nearby Topsfield, Power was a tireless promoter of Peabody history and was never afraid to roll up his sleeves and get involved.

He has been a reliable source of information for this reporter and many others over the years and will be missed by those who want people to know that there’s more to the story of this region’s development than what occurred in Salem.


Veteran Salem School Committeeman Brendan Walsh’s description as “elitist snobs” those Salem Education Foundation members who worked for his defeat in the last election, seemed a bit of an overreaction. Better, however, than the late Vice President Spiro Agnew’s description of those educators opposed to the Nixon administration’s Vietnam policies as “impudent snobs.”


And to quote another famous politician, having been in snowy New Jersey rather that sunny Arizona the past week, I feel your pain.