Top Consultants Join Primary Campaign Against Democratic Incumbent (Updated)
Posted at 6:44 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2013
Updated 10:10 p.m. | Former Marine Seth Moulton’s campaign announced Thursday that two top Democratic consulting firms have joined his effort to unseat six-term Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass.
Mark Mellman of The Mellman Group will handle Moulton’s polling, while Dover Strategy Group will be his direct mail vendor, according to a campaign news release. They join Joe Trippi & Associates, which signed on with the campaign in July.
This is the same team of consultants that worked for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who is also a military veteran.
But it’s notable that two high-profile firms are going to work against an incumbent. It’s unlikely the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee approves, but a committee spokesperson declined to comment.
(Read other campaign hiring news in this week’s Shop Talk column)
The committee’s mission is to win control of the House, but it also supports incumbents. What’s more, the DCCC makes every effort to avoid primaries, especially in competitive districts.
But this is a complicated race.
Tierney is one of Roll Call’s “10 Most Vulnerable House Members,” thanks in part to allegations that he improperly reported income from his wife and brother-in-law. The House Ethics Committee cleared him of any wrongdoing in September.
Massachusetts’ 6th District is generally safe territory for Democrats, but as a result of these problems, Tierney is feeling the squeeze from both parties. He faces both Moulton and attorney Marisa DeFranco in the primary, and whoever wins will likely face Republican former state Sen. Richard Tisei in the general election.
Some Democrats argue that if Moulton defeated Tierney in a primary, he would have less difficulty winning the general election.
Tisei is running for the seat for a second time in as many cycles. Tierney defied expectations in 2012 and defeated Tisei by about 4,300 votes last year.
The race is rated Leans Democratic by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Updated 10:10 p.m. | Sources at the DCCC said consultants who work for candidates who challenge Democratic incumbents in the primary unquestionably burn bridges with the committee.