Republican challenger Richard R. Tisei again outpaced US Representative John F. Tierney in fund-raising during the latest quarter, according to preliminary estimates from the campaigns.
Tisei has outraised Tierney in each three-month period this year, during a congressional race that has become one of the bitterest and most personal in the country.
From July 1 to Sept. 30, Tisei raised $660,480, while Tierney raised more than $500,000, according to early tabulations from the two campaigns. Their full quarterly reports are due Monday at the Federal Election Commission.
Republicans in Massachusetts and Washington view the Sixth Congressional District race as their best chance to pick up a House seat in this state in nearly two decades, with Tierney considered vulnerable because of continued attention on an illegal gambling ring run by his brothers-in-law.
Tisei, a former state senator from Wakefield, led Tierney, a Salem Democrat, by six percentage points in a Globe poll of likely voters, taken in late September. In that poll, Tisei led Tierney 37 percent to 31 percent, though 30 percent were still undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.
‘The judge said I wasn’t involved in any way, shape, or form.’
Tierney’s perceived vulnerabilities, combined with Tisei’s relatively moderate stances on many issues, have elevated the race to national attention.
Republicans have been attacking Tierney with ads demanding he “man up and tell the truth, the whole truth” about the gambling operation. Tierney’s wife, Patrice, spent a month in prison last year after pleading guilty to “willful blindness” while managing a bank account for one of her brothers involved in the gambling ring and for helping that brother file false tax returns.
John Tierney has not been accused of wrongdoing and has said he had no knowledge of any illegal activity. This week he released an ad titled “Honor” in which he speaks directly into the camera and pushes back against the attacks, saying, “The judge said I wasn’t involved in any way, shape, or form, and he was right. But Richard Tisei, he’ll do anything to try to distract you.”
Tisei’s campaign manager has called for Tierney to take down the ad, saying the judge’s statement was not a blanket pronouncement clearing Tierney of any knowledge of the gambling enterprise, only of the aspects specifically before the judge.
From January through March, Tisei raised $354,468, according to FEC reports. In the same period, Tierney raised slightly less, $325,125. In the next quarter, April through June, Tisei more substantially outraised his Democratic opponent, collecting $544,251 to Tierney’s $409,135. But because Tierney had a more sizable war chest going into the race, he had more cash in the bank.
When they last reported to the FEC in late August, Tierney had $729,003 left in his campaign accounts, while Tisei had $630,943.