Had US Representative John Tierney not been weakened by a controversy that grew out of his brother-in-law’s illegal offshore gambling operation, voters in the Sixth District might well have returned him to Congress term after term without feeling much dissatisfaction. While he hasn’t proved to be a towering figure in his 16 years in Congress, he has genuine accomplishments and a reputation as a hard worker. And that, in a state where Republicans are outmatched and ambitious Democrats wait their turn instead of challenging their elders, is usually enough to guarantee an incumbent’s reelection.
This year is different. Tierney’s family scandal — and his evasive handling of it — gives voters a reason to look elsewhere. Meanwhile, he has an appealing Republican challenger, a moderate who served with distinction as minority leader in the state Senate. This year, Sixth District voters should elect that challenger, Richard Tisei.