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October 9, 2012

Fishman a factor in race

Votes for Libertarian could decide 6th District election between Tierney, Tisei

By any measure, the race between Democratic Congressman John Tierney and Republican challenger Richard Tisei will come down to the wire. As if it weren’t interesting enough, enter Daniel Fishman.

The Libertarian candidate jumped into the heated race in August to little fanfare, but has shown in debates that he’s no slouch, delivering articulate, measured arguments — somewhat uncommon for inexperienced, third-party candidates.

“The No. 1 thing people say to me is, at this point, the government is clearly broken and that just by having a third-party candidate in the race has changed the tenor of the conversation,” Fishman said in an interview.

While nobody gives Fishman, a Beverly resident who has never run for public office, a serious chance to upset the well-funded major-party candidates, his candidacy cannot be discounted. In a race expected to be decided by a razor-thin margin, who votes for Fishman matters. If he siphons away more votes from one candidate than the other, it could decide who becomes the 6th District’s next congressman.

Neither the Republican or Democratic camps know for sure what to make of the Fishman factor.

“It’s hard to know,” said Matt Robison, Tierney’s campaign manager. “I think Fishman appeals to people who have a center-right political philosophy, which he expresses, and a Republican libertarian philosophy. He appears to be someone who believes in equal rights, but has really emphasized fiscal conservatism. It’s hard to say where that breaks down exactly in terms of the electorate.”

Paul Moore, Tisei’s campaign manager, said that his campaign’s internal numbers show Fishman supporters tend to come equally from both sides, meaning Fishman’s candidacy would have a negligible impact on the November election.

“Philosophically, I would say Fishman is probably an equal draw between us and Tierney. Our internal numbers show that he is taking from both of us,” Moore said.

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