Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 23, 2014

Gay Republican Candidate ‘Comfortable’ in GOP (Video)

The candidate: Richard Tisei, a real estate broker, former state Senate minority leader and the 2012 GOP nominee in this district.
The member: Nine-term Democratic Rep. John F. Tierney, who defeated Tisei in 2012 by about 1 point. Tierney racked up double-digit victories over the past decade or so, but ethical questions (a case since closed by the House Ethics Committee) plunged him into political vulnerability.
The district: Massachusetts’ 6th stretches from the northern Boston suburbs along the coast to the New Hampshire border and reaches west to include Bedford and the outskirts of Lowell.
The candidate’s team: David Paleologus of Dapa Research (polling), Todd Harris and Heath Thompson of Something Else Strategies (media), Gridiron Communications (direct mail), Nathan Wurtzel (fundraising) and  Ryan Gough (campaign manager).

One thing remains the same in former state Sen. Richard Tisei’s second straight run for the Democratic-held seat in Massachusetts’ 6th District — as an openly-gay New Englander, Tisei is an iconoclast in his party.

The Republican said in a recent interview with CQ Roll Call that he does not find himself in a hostile party. In fact, given that he represents one of the party’s best chances to once again hold a New England congressional seat — something he thinks is necessary for the GOP to be a national party — Tisei is seeing plenty of support.

“I feel very comfortable with the history of the party,” Tisei said, mentioning the GOP’s involvement in women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights movement.

“I’m also a small business owner. … I support our free enterprise system,” Tisei added. “I think smaller government is a good thing. I think people should be making choices for themselves, rather than the government making choices for them. So in a lot of the philosophies, both economic and as far as individual rights go, I feel very comfortable in the party.”

Tisei may be headed for a rematch with Rep. John F. Tierney, but the incumbent faces a competitive Sept. 9 Democratic primary against veteran Seth Moulton. In a recent interview with CQ Roll Call, Moulton charged that some Democrats privately want him to be the party nominee over Tierney.

Tisei says he doesn’t care whom he faces.

“People are more open to change right now than they’ve ever been,” Tisei said. “I don’t really care who’s on the other side. I know what I’m about, and I want to establish a great rapport with voters of the district.”

As he awaits an opponent, Tisei is utilizing his connection with another gay GOP candidate, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, by setting up a joint fundraising committee to help finance their campaigns.

When asked which national Republican he would like to campaign for him in the fall, Tisei pointed to a fellow Northeasterner.

“Of course, I would call Rudy Giuliani. He came for me last time and helped me,” Tisei said. “He was obviously a hit in my area, because people really respect the fact that he’s an independent-minded leader — and the fact that he’s Italian doesn’t hurt either.”

Previous candidate interviews:

  • Hail_to_the_victors

    He would not get my vote.

  • PILover

    But he would mine. Go figure.

  • One Thirsty Bear

    Although liberty can accompany democratic processes, attempts to wield absolute power in the name of fleeting majorities are illegitimate.

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