A razor-thin margin gave Congressman John Tierney, D-Salem, Mass., the edge over Republican rival Richard Tisei in the 6th Congressional race — and Tierney has Libertarian Daniel Fishman to thank for it.
Tierney took the district with 179,603 votes to Tisei’s 175,952. Fishman took 16,668 votes.
As results trickled in, the lead oscillated back-and-forth, with Democratic incumbent Tierney clinging to a slim 48.4 percent to 47.2 percent lead. As expected, Tisei did well in the western and northwestern parts of the district, while Tierney dominated the cities, including wins in Salem, Peabody, Beverly and Lynn.
North Andover voters interviewed yesterday overwhelmingly favored Tisei. Donald Elliott, 59, of Main Street, said he voted for Tisei because Tierney “carries too much baggage.”
Larry Coughlin, 25, of North Andover, said the “whole thing with the illegal gambling operation of his brothers-in-law” prompted him to vote for Tisei.
Torsten and Patricia Schwanbeck, of North Andover, both said they voted for Tisei because they have friends who know him and have vouched for his character.
Rita O’Neill, 52, of North Andover, voted for Tierney, saying he deserves “the benefit of the doubt.”
Tierney was seeking his ninth term in Congress, and Tisei was vying to became the first Republican congressman from Massachusetts in 16 years, and the first openly gay, non-incumbent Republican ever elected to Congress.
The race stayed tight well after midnight. The mood at the Hawthorne Hotel, where Tierney held his election-night party, was increasingly hopeful as the night went on, and cities like Lynn, Salem and Peabody appeared to be turning out strongly for Tierney.
By 11:15, there were still about 200 people in the ballroom waiting for Tierney to enter and make what they hoped would be a victory speech.
“I’m waiting because I want to see John win,” said Kyriakos Andrinodoulos, who owns Brothers Deli in Danvers Square. “He’s a good friend, a good guy and he’s done a lot of things for us. I came here to hear him give the winning speech.”