Gay Republican Candidate ‘Comfortable’ in GOP (Video)
The candidate: Richard Tisei, a real estate broker , former state Senate minority leader and the 2012 GOP nominee in this district.
The member: Nine-term Democratic Rep. John F. Tierney, who defeated Tisei in 2012 by about 1 point. Tierney racked up double-digit victories over the past decade or so, but ethical questions (a case since closed by the House Ethics Committee) plunged him into political vulnerability.
The district: Massachusetts’ 6th stretches from the northern Boston suburbs along the coast to the New Hampshire border and reaches west to include Bedford and the outskirts of Lowell.
The candidate’s team: David Paleologus of Dapa Research (polling), Todd Harris and Heath Thompson of Something Else Strategies (media), Gridiron Communications (direct mail), Nathan Wurtzel (fundraising) and Ryan Gough (campaign manager).
One thing remains the same in former state Sen. Richard Tisei’s second straight run for the Democratic-held seat in Massachusetts’ 6th District — as an openly-gay New Englander, Tisei is an iconoclast in his party.
The Republican said in a recent interview with CQ Roll Call that he does not find himself in a hostile party. In fact, given that he represents one of the party’s best chances to once again hold a New England congressional seat — something he thinks is necessary for the GOP to be a national party — Tisei is seeing plenty of support.
“I feel very comfortable with the history of the party,” Tisei said, mentioning the GOP’s involvement in women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights movement.
“I’m also a small business owner. … I support our free enterprise system,” Tisei added. “I think smaller government is a good thing. I think people should be making choices for themselves, rather than the government making choices for them. So in a lot of the philosophies, both economic and as far as individual rights go, I feel very comfortable in the party.”
Tisei may be headed for a rematch with Rep. John F. Tierney, but the incumbent faces a competitive Sept. 9 Democratic primary against veteran Seth Moulton. In a recent interview with CQ Roll Call, Moulton charged that some Democrats privately want him to be the party nominee over Tierney.
Tisei says he doesn’t care whom he faces.
“People are more open to change right now than they’ve ever been,” Tisei said. “I don’t really care who’s on the other side. I know what I’m about, and I want to establish a great rapport with voters of the district.”
As he awaits an opponent, Tisei is utilizing his connection with another gay GOP candidate, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, by setting up a joint fundraising committee to help finance their campaigns .
When asked which national Republican he would like to campaign for him in the fall, Tisei pointed to a fellow Northeasterner.
“Of course, I would call Rudy Giuliani. He came for me last time and helped me,” Tisei said. “He was obviously a hit in my area, because people really respect the fact that he’s an independent-minded leader — and the fact that he’s Italian doesn’t hurt either.”
Previous candidate interviews:
- West Virginia’s 2nd District: Democrat Nick Casey
- New Hampshire’s 2nd District: Republican Marilinda Garcia
- Utah’s 4th District: Republican Bob Fuehr
- Massachusetts’ 6th District: Democrat Seth Moulton
- New York’s 1st District: Republican Lee Zeldin
- Senate in Kansas: Republican Milton Wolf
- West Virginia’s 2nd: Republican Alex Mooney
- Georgia’s 1st District: Republican Bob Johnson
- Georgia’s 10th District: Republican Mike Collins
- Senate in Minnesota: Republican Julianne Ortman
- Georgia’s 10th District: Republican Donna Sheldon
- California’s 25th District: Democrat Lee Rogers
- Michigan’s 7th District: Democrat Pam Byrnes
- Nevada’s 3rd District: Democrat Erin Bilbray
- Illinois’ 13th District: Democrat Ann Callis
- Ohio’s 6th District: Democrat Jennifer Garrison
- Michigan’s 1st District: Democrat Jerry Cannon
- Montana’s At-Large District: Democrat John Lewis
- New York’s 23rd District: Democrat Martha Robertson
- Senate in North Carolina: Republican Thom Tillis
- Senate in Alaska: Republican Mead Treadwell
- Senate in South Carolina: Republican Lee Bright
- Senate in Iowa: Republican David Young
- Senate in Kentucky: Republican Matt Bevin
- Illinois’ 12th District: Republican Mike Bost
- Idaho’s 2nd District: Republican Bryan Smith
- Michigan’s 14th District: Democrat Rudy Hobbs
- California’s 45th District: Republican Mimi Walters
- Senate in Iowa: Republican Matt Whitaker
- Senate in Nebraska: Republican Shane Osborn
- Minnesota’s 6th District: Republican Tom Emmer
- Minnesota’s 6th District: Democrat Jim Graves
- Florida’s 2nd District: Democrat Gwen Graham
- Pennsylvania’s 13th District: Democrat Daylin Leach