Richard Tisei, the former state senator and lieutenant governor’s candidate who mounted a fierce and often controversial challenge last fall to Congressman John Tierney, says he will not seek the U.S. Senate seat left behind by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Instead, he will join former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown on the Republican Party sidelines in the race for what would amount to an 18-month term, with the same seat due up for election again in November 2014.
Tisei, whose run against Tierney drew more than $4 million in national “SuperPAC” money — and drew widespread criticism for what critics saw as an “attack ad” campaign targeting the legal troubles of Tierney’s wife, Patrice — announced on Saturday that he would not be among the candidates seeing Kerry’s seat, now held by interim Sen. William “Mo” Cowan, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Deval Patrick last week.
Democratic Congressmen Edward Markey of Malden and Stephen Lynch of South Boston have both announced their runs for the seat, which is on track for an April 30 primary and June 25 general election across the state.
“I’ve been humbled by so many people who’ve urged me to run for this seat, following Senator Scott Brown’s decision not to run on Friday,” Tisei, of Lynnfield, said in a prepared statement. “I believe it’s imperative that the Republican Party put forward a strong candidate who can help bring much-needed change to Washington.
“Unfortunately, the timing is simply not right for me to do so — deeply as I feel about the need to strongly compete in this election,” Tisei added. “It was also my desire to make this decision as quickly as possible so that other potential candidates would be able to consider whether they should run.”
Tisei, according to a series of polls heading into the final weeks of the November race, held a lead over Tierney before the congressman’s supporters rallied and pulled out a victory for Tierney’s ninth 6th District term. While Tisei carried 28 of the district’s 39 communities, Tierney triumphed by dominating in the cities of Lynn, Salem and Gloucester, carrying Lynn by a count of better than 3-to-1 and taking America’s Oldest Seaport by a margin of 8,726 to 5,669. Tierney essentially won the race with 48 percent of the vote to Tisei’s 47 percent, with Beverly Libertarian Daniel Fishman garnering 4.6 percent, or 16,668 votes, as well.
Tisei — who served as state Senate Minority Leader prior to current leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester — said he is confident a candidate will emerge to regain the Senate seat lost by the GOP when Democrat Elizabeth Warren ousted Brown last November.
“We have many talented people from all walks of life who should get involved in the political system to bring about change. The political class ought not be a select few,” Tisei said. “That’s part of the reason that we’re in such a mess and that our political system has become dysfunctional.
“I look forward to continuing my involvement and to supporting strong, principled, independent-minded candidates who may choose to run for this and other offices,” he added. “All of us — Republicans, independents, and Democrats — need to roll up our sleeves, pitch in, and bring about the reforms of our political system that are so desperately needed.
“Whether as a candidate or concerned citizen,” he said, “I will continue to be involved with other men and women of integrity who share my desire for real reforms.”