Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

Top Consultants Join Primary Campaign Against Democratic Incumbent (Updated)

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.

  • Howie Klein

    You said “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.” Steve Israel threw that out and is currently working to undermine progressives– albeit challengers, not incumbents– in primaries across the country. He’s running some empty suit proven loser, Pete Aguilar an economic conservative, against progressive champion Eloise Reyes in CA-31, a deep blue Inland Empire district (D+5) Aguilar lost to Gary Miller last year.

    http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2013/10/america-needs-more-women-like-eloise.html

    • Roberto M

      I wouldn’t call a D+5 district a deep blue district. Besides, the dynamics of this race are different this cycle. Miller beat a fellow GOPer in the general because Democrats had way too many candidates running in the jungle style primary. This isn’t the case this election cycle. Miller is as good as gone, regardless of who the Dem candidate happens to be, and I am saying this as a Republican.

  • View From The Left

    So “Sources at the DCCC said consultants who work for candidates who challenge Democratic incumbents in the primary unquestionably burn bridges with the committee”? Yeah well please tell the DCCC that committees who work for incumbents instead of letting the DEMOCRATS in the district decide unquestionably burn bridges with people like me who then refuse to give money to the DCCC but instead donate directly to the candidate, in this case Seth Moulton.

    Sorry, DCCC, but you just lost out on another $50 (ask Seth Moulton where is went)
    ;-)

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