EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 12, 2012

Many laughs at GOP pre-debate rally

NORTH ANDOVER – An hour and a half before Vice President Joseph Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan squared off before a national audience, local Republicans flocked to the China Blossom Restaurant to support their candidates.

The NAGOP (North Andover GOP) Rally drew about 200 people, as well as the area candidates for the state Legislature and register of deeds. The fundraiser also featured plenty of laughs, courtesy of Howie Carr.

The talk show host, columnist and author offered kind words for state Rep. James Lyons, R-Andover, who is running for his second term in the 18th Essex District. Carr credited Lyons with “trying to get accountability from the hacks.”

The audience cheered and Lyons smiled appreciatively. Not surprisingly, Carr did not set a high bar for Biden’s debate performance. “If he walks up on the stage without pulling a Chevy Chase, he’s exceeded expectations,” he said.

As for Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s Democratic opponent, Carr said he wants to have her DNA tested to determine if she really is part Cherokee.

Congressman John Tierney, D-Salem, whose 6th Congressional District includes North Andover and part of Andover, took flak not only from Carr, but from a local political leader.

“I will never vote for John Tierney,” Selectman Tracy Watson told a cheering crowd. She uttered that same line in a campaign ad for Tierney’s Republican opponent, former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, R-Wakefield.

Watson, an independent, later told The Eagle-Tribune that Tierney has never had a bill of his enacted into law during his 16 years in Congress. She also chided him for voting with the Democratic leadership 99 percent of the time.

“Nobody’s right 99 percent of the time,” Watson said.

Former North Andover School Committee member Karin Rhoton, the Republican nominee for state representative in the 14th Essex District, said she was pleased with the “awesome turnout.” She said she hopes that enthusiasm will help her in her race against Diana DiZoglio, who defeated state Rep. David Torrisi, D-North Andover, in the Sept. 6 primary.

“I”m working hard, knocking on doors,” she said. “I will leave nothing to chance.” She estimated she has knocked on at least 8,000 doors.

While Carr predicted a lackluster performance by Biden, Rhoton said Ryan “carries an excellent message of fiscal responsibility.”

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