Republican challenger Richard Tisei conceded this afternoon in his fiercely close contest with US Representative John F. Tierney, 13 hours after The Associated Press called the Sixth Congressional District race for the incumbent by one percentage point.
“This has been a long, hard-fought battle and I believe that the voters deserve better representation in Washington. That’s why I ran. Nonetheless, the election results are now fully in and Congressman Tierney retains a narrow lead. I congratulate him on his victory,” Tisei, a former state senator from Wakefield, said in a statement.
“While I have concerns about reported irregularities in some areas of the district, I’ll leave any investigation of those matters to others,” Tisei added, alluding to charges made by his campaign manager of possible voter fraud in Lynn. Many pundits had seen the race as tilted toward Tisei.
Tisei continued, “I’m proud of our effort to bring change to Washington and for all of those wonderful people I’ve met along the way. It’s been the experience of a lifetime. I’m also grateful for all of those who’ve bravely stood up to be counted as we try to put our country back on track. There is no substitute for citizen involvement in building a better country. I encourage every American to get involved, stay involved, and make a difference.”
Tierney, seeking a ninth term, escaped with the narrowest victory since his first election, when the recount lasted a month. He won 179,603 votes Tuesday to Tisei’s 175,953, with Libertarian Daniel Fishman collecting 16,668.
Dogged by a gambling scandal involving his wife’s family, Tierney had been rendered a slight underdog by national analysts such as the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, the Globe reports today. But he appeared to benefit from the strong performance of Democrats above him on the ticket and from the party’s sophisticated ground game, as well as from the presence of Libertarian candidate Daniel Fishman, who collected 4.5 percent of the vote despite being omitted from televised debates.
In Tierney’s first race, it took a month of recounts to finalize his 371-vote victory in his second try to unseat the Republican incumbent, Peter Torkildsen. He had won easy reelection every two years after that until now.
Tierney’s wife pleaded guilty in 2010 to aiding the filing of false tax returns for one of her brothers, admitting “willful blindness” in helping to manage millions of dollars in illegal gambling income. Patrice Tierney spent a month in prison last year. One brother is serving three years, and the other remains a fugitive in the Caribbean.
But Tierney withstood $3.5 million in outside spending and about $1.7 million in spending by Tisei, much of it aimed at questioning what he might have known about the illegal gambling enterprise. Tierney spent more than $2 million in response — and benefited from $2 million in outside support — defending himself and attempting to paint Tisei as an acolyte of the Tea Party movement, despite his reputation as a moderate.