Richard Tisei’s journey to become the 6th District’s next congressman began with pomp and circumstance a year ago on the steps of the Americal Civic Center in Wakefield. It ended yesterday with a three-paragraph email to reporters.
“This has been a long, hard-fought battle, and I believe that the voters deserve better representation in Washington. That’s why I ran,” Tisei said in a statement just before 2 p.m. yesterday. “Nonetheless, the election results are now fully in and Congressman Tierney retains a narrow lead. I congratulate him on his victory.”
About an hour earlier, Tisei’s campaign manager, Paul Moore, had called Tierney’s campaign manager, Matt Robison, to concede the race. Tisei did not call Tierney.
With all 39 cities and towns in the district reporting, Tierney beat Tisei by a slim margin of 48 percent to 47 percent, a difference of about 3,600 votes in an election where more than 372,000 were cast.
Tierney declared victory around 12:30 a.m. yesterday morning, but Tisei did not concede that night, citing “irregularities” in polling numbers coming out of Lynn, where Tierney got 70 percent of the vote.
Early yesterday morning, Moore called it “odd” and “completely bizarre” that Tisei did so poorly in the district’s largest city.
He complained that the city clerk did not answer their phone calls after about 8:30 p.m., and told the media that someone had seen people tell voters that if they wanted to continue to receive welfare checks, they should vote for Tierney.
City Clerk Mary Audley said in a statement that the allegations from Tisei’s campaign are “unfounded” and said her office received no complaints from voters or from the secretary of state’s office.
“We are committed to running every election to the letter of the law, and to allege otherwise is quite offensive,” Audley said.
In his statement yesterday, Tisei said he would drop the matter but implied that he hopes some investigation occurs.
“While I have concerns about reported irregularities in some areas of the district, I’ll leave any investigation of those matters to others,” he said. “I’ll have no further comment on these matters.
“I’m proud of our effort to bring change to Washington and for all of those wonderful people I’ve met along the way. It’s been the experience of a lifetime,” he continued.
“I’m also grateful for all of those who’ve bravely stood up to be counted as we try to put our country back on track. There is no substitute for citizen involvement in building a better country. I encourage every American to get involved, stay involved and make a difference.”
Tisei refused to take questions or speak to the press, the first time in the election he has been elusive.
Asked by a Salem News reporter when Tisei would be available for comment, the campaign’s communications director, Jennifer Drogus, replied simply, “No interviews today.”
Tisei, 50, spent 26 years in the Massachusetts Legislature, much of it as Senate minority leader.
He has said he decided to run for Congress because the country is in a critical point in history and he thought he could help break the partisan gridlock.
Tierney will return to Washington for a ninth term.