A national groundswell of support for Democrats on election night thwarted his quest to become Massachusetts’ first Republican congressman in 16 years, Republican Richard Tisei said yesterday in his first interview since the election.
“When you run for federal office, you can only control what you can control,” said Tisei, who suffered what many considered a surprising defeat to Democratic incumbent John Tierney on Tuesday, by a 1-percent margin.
“I thought we ran a perfect campaign as far as what we had to do to win. We outraised Tierney every quarter of the campaign, we built a huge organization from scratch, in every metric we did extremely well. Everything was perfect, but we were involved in a federal race and the mood of the country ends up impacting you.
“Obama was reelected, and his campaign drew out a lot of folks who probably wouldn’t even be paying attention to this race. It drove out more Democrats than we had predicted,” Tisei said.
Tisei, a former state senator and a real estate businessman from Wakefield, still took pride in being the Republican congressional candidate who came the closest to victory in New England. But that’s a far cry from where he was a few weeks ago, when he’d been endorsed by a string of newspapers and his team was so confident it ran a television ad with no narration, depicting nothing but waves crashing into Good Harbor Beach.
The day after his defeat, which he and his staff deemed too close to call on election night, Tisei conceded by email and refused to speak with reporters. On Wednesday, “once everything was in front of us, we made the decision rather than have a big press conference, the best thing to do is send out a statement” conceding the race, he said. “It was John Tierney’s day.”