By Ethan Forman
The conservative Republican who drew 43 percent of the vote while mounting a contentious challenge to 6th District Congressman John Tierney two years ago won't be looking for a rematch this fall after all.
Last March, Boxford attorney Bill Hudak said his support "remains widespread and deep," and he announced a second run for Tierney's seat.
Monday morning, however, Hudak dropped out of the race, saying an unspecified "business opportunity" would take up too much of his time.
The move clears the way to the GOP nomination for Richard Tisei, a former Wakefield state senator who ran for lieutenant governor on Charlie Baker's ticket in 2010, and whose community was redistricted into Tierney and Hudak's territory under maps drawn through a State House legislative committee last year.
"I have a lot of respect for Bill Hudak," Tisei said in a prepared statement. "It isn't easy to run for office, and he had the guts to give it his all and run against John Tierney in 2010. This will enable my campaign to focus our efforts solely on defeating John Tierney in November."
Tierney also issued a statement.
"I join others in wishing the Hudak family well in his new business venture," he said.
Hudak, a 53-year-old Boxford attorney and Tea Party conservative, said he was not at liberty to say what the business opportunity is, for proprietary reasons. But he said it would "allow me to recoup what my family has invested in this race so far, and then some — allowing me to return stronger than ever in 2014."
Hudak still has a $25,000 campaign debt from the last election, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.
He also said the new venture, along with his law practice, would take up too much of his time to allow for a full-scale campaign — and he could not look potential donors in the eye and ask for money because he could not mount a "fight to the death."
"I put every ounce of energy into building a party and running in 2010," said Hudak, who said he, like everyone else, was affected by the economic downturn. A fire in his house in December 2009 meant he ran for Congress while living out of a suitcase, he said.
To run for Tierney's seat in 2010, Hudak suspended his law practice. He raised nearly $812,000, including more than $200,000 in loans he gave to his campaign, and ended up with 43 percent of the vote.
Tierney's campaign spent nearly $2 million in the race.
This time around, Hudak faced a formidable primary challenge from Tisei, whose campaign said last week that it raised $305,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011. Hudak, by contrast, had about $3,300 in cash on hand, according to his campaign filings.
Hudak said the 6th District would have benefited from a primary race, and one of his big regrets was not being able to push Tisei "to be honest with his true record and motivation for running."
Hudak said he did not want to take any shots at Tisei, but he will not endorse him. That's because Tisei failed to endorse Hudak during his last campaign or show up at any of his events, Hudak said.
He still wants to remain active in conservative politics, he said, noting that he helped get the Lynn Tea Party group up and running in an effort to build support for conservatives.
He also said the Republican establishment needs to show more support for its low-level candidates.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, or firstname.lastname@example.org.