NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News

Local News

July 11, 2014

Tierney challenge pivots on core Democrats, Independents

BOSTON — Seth Moulton has three Harvard degrees, spent four tours of duty as a Marine in Iraq and has hired prominent campaign strategists. But is his Democratic Party fealty sufficient enough to topple long-time incumbent Congressman John Tierney in this fall’s primary election?

That’s the question hardened Democrats and political observers are asking as the Sept. 9 ballot box showdown between the two Salem residents draws near in the 6th Congressional District race.

“He has an amazing biography,” said Peter Ubertaccio, a political science professor at Stonehill College. “But biography can only take you so far when you’re challenging an incumbent who retains a lot of institutional support, as John Tierney does. You need to have the resources.”

Moulton, 35, has only been a registered Democrat since December of 2012, voting records show. He was an independent or unenrolled voter before that.

Moulton’s voting records in his hometown of Marblehead, and in Salem and Cambridge, where he attended Harvard University, also show he has skipped several major Democratic primaries and elections, including the 2010 election when Republican Scott Brown captured the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century.

In contrast, Tierney, 62, has been registered as a Democrat since 1996, when he was first elected to Congress. He’s known as one of Washington’s most liberal lawmakers. Still, he barely won re-election against Republican nominee Richard Tisei, a former state senator, two years ago, in a bare-knuckles race that focused on Tierney’s spousal ties to an illegal off-shore gambling operation.

A battle-scarred Tierney won that election by a one-point margin on the basis of core liberal support. President Obama captured the 6th Congressional District by 10 points. Political observers say Tierney remains vulnerable and Democrats know that.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Special Features