21 Aug 2014
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District 6 Ad War Continues

Congressman John Tierney is taking on challenger Richard Tisei over "Young Guns" designation.

Congressman John Tierney has unleashed another attack ad online, going after challenger Richard Tisei for Tisei's status as one of the Republican Party's "Young Guns."

The ad shows Republican House members and tea party favorites Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, referring to them as a "tea party trio," and then cuts to Richard Tisei (in an unflattering green and black backdrop) and calls him "The New Recruit."

"One thing is clear," the ominous voice on the ad says. "If we vote for Tisei, we vote for them all."

The ad then asks the audience to donate to Tierney's campaign.

Tisei, a Republican from Wakefield, is challeneging U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Salem, for the Sixth Congressional District seat in Washinton, D.C. Both Hamilton and Wenham are in the Sixth District.

Tisei shot back at Team Tierney with similar ammo, linking Tierney with top-level controversial Democrat Nancy Pelosi and Obama advisor David Axelrod as well as admonishing Tierney's use of attack ads.

"John Tierney has been trying to sell a pile of hot, steaming lies to the voters every day," Tisei wrote in a statement. "They serve them up daily to the media and voters.  How sad is that? When you have nothing else, follow the Axelrod playbook and throw as much mud as you can. Unfortunately for John Tierney, the people know me and they know my record.  They know that I will do what's right for the district.  Today, we have a Congressman who does the bidding of Nancy Pelosi 99% of the time. That isn't independent judgment, which is what the voters deserve. Instead, we have a Congressman who gets 43% of his money from PACs and the Democratic leadership and, not surprisingly, he is bound to do their bidding."

The Impact

But will the attack ads work? Congressmen Ryan, McCarthy and Cantor are seen as controversial far-right politicians -- especially in the northeast -- but Tisei's record in the Massachusetts legislature wasn't exactly far right wing.

And Tisei recently refused to sign the famous (or infamous, depending how you see it) Taxpayer Protection Pledge. That pledge, signed by most Republicans in Congress (41 senators and 238 representatives) and Republican candidates, calls for no tax increases whatsoever and no elimination of deductions or credits (often called loopholes). Tisei has refused to sign that pledge, citing his view that some loopsholes should be closed.

Tisei has made national headlines frequently this election season. Politico profiled him recently as a rising star among Republicans in the 2012 election. And The National Journal featured Tisei in a feature about "Young Guns" in the GOP, but the feature was about diversity in this year's crop of new GOP candidates.

It's too soon to see if linking Tisei to national Republican figures will have any impact on voters in the Massachusetts Sixth District. And historically, Massachusetts voters have reacted negatively to attack ads (see: Martha Coakley rape victims attack ad).

Tisei will be joining us on Patchfor a live chat on Patch Friday, June 8, so you will have the chance to ask him about this and more.

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