By Bruno Matarazzo Jr.
Republican challenger Richard Tisei led seven-term incumbent Congressman John Tierney in the fundraising matchup during the last fiscal quarter, reeling in $230,000 more from individual donors than his Democrat opponent.
Campaign filings show that Tierney raised $160,129 last quarter, of which $89,200 came from political action committees representing unions, trade organizations and local politicians.
The remainder, $70,840, was contributed by individual donors.
Tisei, on the other hand, raised the bulk of his campaign money — $300,940 — from individual contributors. The remaining amount, $600, came from political action committees connected with district political leaders, including state Rep. Brad Jones, R-North Reading.
"John Tierney has been entrenched in Washington for a long, long time. That's why most of his financial support is coming from his friends there and not from Massachusetts," Tisei, of Lynnfield, said in a prepared statement.
"This is just one more sign that it's time for him to retire," Tisei said of Tierney. "Too bad for John Tierney that Washington lobbyists don't get to vote in our congressional elections."
Tisei, 49, a former state senator, announced his challenge to Tierney last year after running as Charlie Baker's lieutenant governor running mate in the 2010 gubernatorial race.
The individual fund-raising figures have done nothing to dispel any optimism or commitment in the Tierney camp, nine months before the election.
"John (Tierney) continues to receive widespread support from across the district and will have the resources necessary to run and win in November," Tierney spokeswoman Kathryn Prael said. "He remains committed to meeting with local families across our community and continuing his efforts to create jobs and revive our economy."
Tierney still has slightly more than twice as much money in his campaign account than Tisei. The incumbent had $545,600 cash on hand at the end of 2011, compared to his challenger's $256,390.
Tisei's early fundraising success aside, he also received a boost last month when Boxford lawyer Bill Hudak dropped out of the race. Hudak had mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Tierney in 2010, drawing 107,739 votes — or 43 percent of the total — while carrying the town of Essex and a few others.
Without a Republican challenger, Tisei won't have to worry about a primary fight and can keep his energy and money focused squarely on Tierney.
In a statement earlier this week, Tisei criticized Tierney for the number of donations he received from politicians and political action committees. According to the filings, Tierney received about $89,000 of his donations last quarter from political committees.
Tierney, a member of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, received substantial support from postal worker unions. The postal service falls under the oversight committee.
He has also received donations from the American Postal Workers Union AFL-CIO, the National Association of Postal Supervisors PAC, Postal Mail Handlers Union, National Association of Postmasters and National Rural Letter Carriers Association.
Tierney is a ranking member of the National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Defense-related companies such as Textron, General Electric and BAE have also given money to Tierney.
Staff writer Jesse Roman contributed to this report by Bruno Matarazzo Jr. who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.