Election 2014

Pink Elephant Patrol: Innis Out; Tisei Battling Fresh Face Instead of Tierney


Seth Moulton
Seth Moulton victory speech

Massachusetts Democrats booted an incumbent for the first time this campaign season. John Tierney, representing Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District, is the first incumbent to get dumped out of office during state primaries since 1992. He had served for 16 years but struggled to keep winning this decade after his wife was convicted for federal tax fraud connected to an illegal Internet gambling business operated by her brothers. He barely beat openly gay Republican Richard Tisei in 2012 when Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren were helping bring voters to the polls. It probably shouldn't be much of a surprise that he ultimately ended up dumped in mid-term primaries, given that Tisei is challenging him yet again.

Tierney lost to Seth Moulton, a 35-year-old Harvard grad who served four tours of Iraq as a Marine captain. Nothing from Moulton's stances suggest much of a difference from any other progressive Democrat. He supports the Affordable Care Act, equal pay for women, complaining about corporate tax loopholes, higher pay for teachers (which isn't something he should be dealing with as a congressman), more gun control, and hating on Citizens United. Of libertarian interest, he has declared his support for sentencing reform and the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, giving him a link to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Despite his tours of duty, he said he opposed the Iraq war and opposes sending in more ground troops to fight ISIS.

The conventional wisdom is that Republican Tisei is now essentially battling Tierney without the baggage and controversy, and Tisei may now actually have a harder time winning in November. Moulton also points out on his issues page that he has an openly gay brother (in bold text, no less), not that Tisei has shown any interest in using his own sexual orientation to get votes. Tisei's team is presenting the obvious argument that Moulton is just Tierney 2.0, which might not exactly be a problem with voters if it was Tierney himself that voters were spurning, not his positions.

And since Moulton is essentially running on the platform of being "fresh" as opposed to actually being different, he's essentially treating Tisei (who has served for years in the state legislature) the same way he treated Tierney, saying, "We won't get fresh thinking and new leadership by sending someone to Washington who was first elected to office when I was 6 years old." Catty!

In other gay Republican news, Dan Innis lost his primary to challenge Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter to represent New Hampshire's 1st District. Innis, who ran on a pro-business, anti-surveillance platform, lost to Frank Guinta. Guinta's positions are mostly about eliminating federal regulations and bureaucracy with a helping of anti-illegal immigration "secure the borders" conservatism.

So come November, there will be two Republicans competing for the honor of being the first openly gay person elected into federal office as a member of the GOP. Besides Tisei, Carl DeMaio will be battling against Democrat Scott Peters to represent San Diego, California, in Congress. Both have positions of interest to libertarians (read more here), and I'll be keeping an eye on their races.