Tierney’s brothers-in-law were indicted in 2010 for running an illegal gambling operation in Antigua, and the congressman’s wife, Patrice, spent a month in jail after pleading guilty to being “willfully blind” to the source of her brother Robert Eremian’s money. She had managed a bank account for him and, in exchange, accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from him.
But her congressman husband was never implicated in any wrongdoing.
Tierney and Democratic groups tried, with limited success, to paint Tisei as a right-wing radical, linking him to Tea Party ideology, despite his support for legalizing gay marriage, protecting abortion rights and preserving many social programs. Tisei’s liberal stances on social issues have earned him a reputation as a moderate, although his views swing substantially to the right when it comes to fiscal issues. Tisei wants to maintain tax breaks for the wealthy, reduce regulations on business, repeal Obamacare, and is open to restructuring Medicare and other programs.
A resident of Wakefield, Tisei owns a real estate business in Lynnfield with his longtime life partner Bernard Starr.
Tisei came out as gay in 2009 during an unsuccessful campaign to become the state’s lieutenant governor. Tisei’s running mate that year, Republican gubernatorial nominee, Charlie Baker, was on hand in Peabody last night to show support for his old friend.
Tierney, 61, has spent 16 years in Congress and has been credited for his work on education and veterans issues. He helped write several bills aimed at making college more affordable. He voted against the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and led an investigation of subpar conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Tierney had the support of the state’s Democratic establishment, including Gov. Deval Patrick, who came to Salem on Monday to support him. He also had the backing of the mayors in Beverly, Salem, Peabody, Amesbury and Newburyport.