Across Cape Ann and the rest of Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District, it's the voters' job to elect either Richard Tisei or John Tierney to Congress in November.
But besides the voters and the candidates themselves, the people most responsible for the outcome in November may well be Paul Moore and Matt Robison — the two political veterans hired to manage day-to-day operations of each campaign.
Robison, who lives in New Hampshire, was brought on in March to help Tierney win re-election to a ninth term in Washington.
Moore, a lifelong politics junkie from Missouri, was hired to help challenger Richard Tisei try to become the first Republican in 16 years to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Political operatives, although quick to fire off press releases and offer a stinging sound bite for the newspapers, are sometimes loathe to have the spotlight shined in their direction.
Robison declined to be interviewed for this story, saying he prefers to have the attention remain on his boss.
Both men were Washington guys at one time or another, although Moore has spent much less time on Capitol Hill, working for most of the last decade as an attorney at the Department of Justice.
Moore was introduced to Tisei through a mutual friend — Charlie Baker of Swampscott, the Republican candidate for governor in 2010 who picked Tisei as his running mate.
Moore and Tisei discovered they shared many of the same political beliefs, and Moore said he saw his decision to get back into politics as something of a personal duty.
"The country is going off a cliff, and I felt like I needed to do something," he said, sitting in his office at Tisei headquarters in Lynnfield, a lithograph of former President Ronald Reagan hanging on the wall over his left shoulder. "This is my part."
Moore ran his first campaign — and won — while still in high school, working for Republican Gene Lang, a representative in the Missouri House, he said. He organized the college effort at the University of Missouri, his alma mater, for U.S. Sen. John Danforth, a Republican, and later worked for former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond and Rhode Island congressional candidate Kevin Vigilante.
In 1996, Moore went to work for the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C., as regional political director and senior political staffer for 13 states. Since 2002, he's worked at the Department of Justice.
Robison has had a much different career arc, spending most of his political life within the walls of the Capitol.
After attending Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, Robison went briefly into economics, but apparently caught the political bug and in 1999 enrolled at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. After graduating with a master's in public policy in 2001, he went to Washington to work for a number of politicians.
His first job on the Hill came in 2001, as legislative director for Rep. John Baldacci, a Democrat from Maine who in 2002 was elected governor. Robison then began a four-year stint working for Baldacci's successor in Washington, Rep. Michael Michaud, as the Democrat's deputy chief of staff and legislative director. In 2007, Robison took a job as the chief of staff for Rep. Paul Hodes, a New Hampshire Democrat, and held that position until Hodes ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2010.
After the loss, Robison and Hodes founded Northern Connection LLC, a consulting practice focused on government relations, development and strategic communication.
Jesse Roman may be contacted at email@example.com.