, Gloucester, MA

November 11, 2012

Editorial: Tisei camp owes some answers on serious poll claim

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — The morning after Congressman John Tierney had pulled off what, according to pre-election polls, had been a stunning, come-from-behind win over Republican challenger Richard Tisei, Tisei and especially his campaign manager, Paul Moore, made serious accusations of alleged voting “irregularities” in Lynn.

Lynn, as it turned out, had been one of the cities that, like Gloucester and Salem, voted heavily for Tierney and carried the congressman to his narrow victory. So the Tisei campaign charges were seen as challenging the result of the election itself.

Yet, in his belated concession statement — issued via email, not through a forum in which he might have to answer questions — Tisei said that, “while I have concerns about reported irregularities in some areas of the district, I’ll leave any investigation of those matters to others.”

In an interview a few days after the election, Tisei basically held to that stand (see news story, Page 1). But by raising the spectre of voting “irregularities” in the first place, Tisei and more notably Moore — who mouthed to a least one Boston radio station that unknown people going through the lines at the Lynn polls had intimidated voters into supporting Tierney — the Tisei campaign has tainted, for one last time, a race in which nearly $5 million worth of shameful Super-PAC advertising made it aong the ugliest in the nation. And for the Tisei camp to walk away without even attempting to document any of these charges is not only a gross injustice to Tierney, but to Lynn officials and to voters themselves, who could easily be discouraged from voting in the future if the charges were true.

Clearly, neither Tisei nor Moore could show a shred of evidence behind their charge. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin’s office received no complaints of voter intimidation or fraud in Lynn, spokesman Brian McNiff said.

A spokesman for the city clerk’s office in Lynn said that the Tisei campaign’s claims were “unfounded” and that it, too, had received no complaints of voters being challenged. And there’s no indication anyone at Tisei’s “celebration” party in Peabody talked of any voting “irregularities” when the party began, or when early results form some towns showed Tisei with an early lead on Election Night.

All of that suggests that the clerk’s finding of “unfounded” really means “fabricated.” And that’s a problem.

The Tisei campaign claim parallels the equally serious — and, from all indications, equally false — claim by Gloucester Fort residents and Beauport hotel opponents that unidentified members of Gloucester’s City Council received “gifts” that may have tainted their vote for the hotel overlay district that should soon yield a new waterfront hotel, bringing new commerce and jobs to the city.

That little gem was included in the initial lawsuit challenging the approval filed on behalf of Fort residents and businesses by attorney Daniel Hill, who trashed his own credibility even further when he filed the suit listing a plaintiff as a purported nonprofit group – the former “Hold The Fort” gang — that had never obtained nonprofit status.

Refiling the suit under the group’s new name of the Port Community Alliance, Hill — who should still be held accountable for all of this — left out any reference to any council “gifts.” Yet there’s been no admission by this group that there was never any evidence of their initial claim, which unfairly clouded that process and the reputation of essentially everyone on the council.

By walking away from the voting irregularities claim that his campaign pressed in the hours after Tierney’s triumph, Tisei seems to suggest that everyone should just move on and forget these charges were ever raised. But that leaves an ugly taint on this election that neither Tierney nor officials and voters deserve.

Tisei and Moore owe the voters of the 6th District one of two things — either statements of evidence showing their claims of voter intimidation were valid, or a very public apology and a new concession that they have no real evidence that any such incidents ever occurred.

We’re betting on the latter.