Surrounded by more then two dozen present and past Gloucester officials who lauded him for his service to the city on a wide range of issues over his eight terms, U.S. Rep. John Tierney, in a fierce struggle for re-election to Congress from the 6th district, was among appreciative allies and friends Tuesday.
”I’m honored to have everybody here,” said Tierney, who was adorned with verbal garlands for nearly an hour for his work on everything from education to transportation, health and veterans services to the disabled and the commercial fishing industry.
Former Mayor John Bell was speaking about his inability to “imagine Gloucester without John Tierney,” when the mood of the event, which began at 8 a.m. at the Gloucester House, was interrupted by relayed word that Patrice Tierney, the congressman’s wife, had been involved in a serious auto accident. (See related story.)
Tierney left to be with his wife, but the endorsements continued.
”I’m a Republican,” said retired longtime City Councilor John “Gus” Foote, and John Tierney has always been here for the fishing industry.”
State Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and eight of the nine city councilors — all except Republican Robert Whynott — were present or represented.
The only discouraging words in the event were reserved for Republican nominee Richard Tisei, the most extreme of which came via smart phone from councilor, former mayor and Democratic stalwart Bruce Tobey, who was out of town.
“Your opponent,” Tobey’s voice said, “has mounted a relentlessly vile campaign.”
He was referring to the brutish attack on Tierney by Tisei and his political proxies, who have mounted a multi-million dollar, multi-media campaign targeted at Tierney’s handling of the 2010 criminal case involving his wife.
One recent piece of mailed advertising said, “Shame on you, John Tierney for throwing your wife under the bus to save your political career.” Patrice Tierney pled guilty to willful blindness in aiding and abetting her brother in the filing of illegal tax returns for an offshore gambling operation, and served a month in prison. Tierney was not drawn into the legal case and has insisted he was unaware of the activities of his brother-in-law to which Patrice agreed in federal court she had willed herself not to see.