Campaign Comment

Last summer I worked on a campaign in Massachusetts’ District Six. I had the pleasure of working with veteran campaigner Maura Flynn (now President-Elect, Dermatology Nurses’ Association) and candidate Marisa DeFranco. It was clear by mid-summer 2014 that the Democratic party wanted to keep incumbent John Tierney in office. While publicly leveling charges of a ‘War On Women’ against the Republican party, Democratic party insiders were waging that war within their own party, and against their own candidates.

It was difficult, watching the mistakes and missteps piling up on the Democratic party side of the ledger during that campaign. Senator Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA), was an early endorser of Tierney’s re-election bid. She continued to support him, as did Nancy Pelosi, even as the evidence mounted that he was very much at home in the ‘Do-Nothing Congress’.

Warren said: “I had the chance to work closely with Congressman Tierney on consumer protection issues years before I ran for the Senate, and I’m very glad to work as his partner in Congress today,” — “Throughout his career, he has fought hard to strengthen our schools, to improve access to high-quality, affordable education, and to make the kinds of investments that grow our economy in the 6th District and across the Commonwealth.”  Her praise can not have sat well with the constituents, as Tierney had passed but one bill in all his time in the House. Having taken office in 1998, Tierney waited until 2013 before actually doing any work that resulted in concrete legislation originated by him. His bill, H.R. 1339, naming Salem, MA as the birthplace of the National Guard. 

Both President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama campaigned locally for Tierney, as did speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi made a much-publicized and ill-advised campaign stop for her friend Tierney, driving her purple luxury coach into Lowell. Billed as the “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” tour, Tierney was the only candidate allowed on the platform, a diminutive figure among the red power-suited women of Washington. Inexplicably refused a spot on the platform was attorney DeFranco, the only Democratic woman candidate in the race.

It was anticipated that Tierney, awash in cash and Democratic party support, would easily beat back challengers MarisaDeFranco, Seth Moulton, John Devine, and John Gutta. Of the four challengers, Seth Moulton raised the most cash, and his team spent it wisely. He overwhelmed incumbent John Tierney in the primary, with 50.8% to Tierney’s 40.1%.  In the General Election, Moulton overcame the challenge from former Republican state Sen. RichardTisei by a margin of 53.6% to 40.2%.  Since taking office on January 3rd, Moulton most recently represented MA 6 by joining the Massachusetts Delegation, along with Senators Warren and Markey, in sending a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Administrator Paul Ford urging the agency to support the Commonwealth’s disaster recovery efforts. Rep. Moulton (D-MA) sits on two committees, the Armed Services Committee and the Budget Committee.