SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

July 10, 2013

Our view: A primary challenge in the 6th District

Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or independent, the news that there’s another candidate for Congress next year is welcome.

Seth Moulton, a Marblehead native making his first bid for public office, has announced he’ll challenge Congressman John Tierney for the Democratic nomination next year. Although he has no experience as a legislator, he has a resume sporting three Harvard degrees and four tours of duty with the Marine Corps in Iraq.

There hasn’t been a credible Democratic primary challenge in the 6th District since former Congressman Nick Mavroules squeaked by challenger Barbara Hildt in 1992 — and that occurred while Mavroules was under indictment on political corruption charges.

The situation now is different — Tierney squeaked past Republican Richard Tisei last year, and while the GOP made much of the gambling scandal involving Tierney’s wife and in-laws, the congressman himself has never been charged with wrongdoing. Satisfied voters have been returning him to office for the better part of two decades.

Moulton considered a run last year when Tierney was at his most vulnerable but opted, probably wisely, to stay in Texas where he was living at the time. It was too late to get on the ballot as a Democrat, and if he had run as an independent, he’d have risked being viewed as a spoiler — and possibly ruining any future he might hope to have as a Democrat.

As Tisei found, it’s pretty hard to win in the 6th District as a Republican, so the most viable choices might well be between Democrats. It’s good to see someone willing to challenge the power of incumbency to offer that choice.

Whether Moulton turns out to be a good candidate remains to be seen, but, as Tierney himself said, “This process makes our democracy stronger.”

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