A national groundswell of support for Democrats on Election Night thwarted his quest to become Massachusetts’ first Republican congressman in 16 years, Republican Richard Tisei said in his first interview since the election.
“When you run for federal office, you can only control what you can control,” said Tisei, who suffered what many considered a surprising defeat to Democratic incumbent John Tierney last Tuesday by a 1 percent margin.
“I thought we ran a perfect campaign as far as what we had to do to win,” Tisei said. “We outraised Tierney every quarter of the campaign, we built a huge organization from scratch, in every metric we did extremely well. Everything was perfect, but we were involved in a federal race and the mood of the country ends up impacting you.
“Obama was reelected, and his campaign drew out a lot of folks who probably wouldn’t even be paying attention to this race. It drove out more Democrats than we had predicted,” Tisei said.
Tisei, a former state senator and a real estate businessman from Wakefield, still took pride in being the Republican congressional candidate who came the closest to victory in New England.
But that’s a far cry from where he was a few weeks ago, when he’d been endorsed by a number of newspapers and his team was so confident it ran a television ad with no narration — depicting nothing but waves crashing into Gloucester’s Good Harbor Beach.
The day after his defeat, which he and his staff deemed too close to call on election night, Tisei conceded by email and refused to speak with reporters. While Tisei carried roughly two-thirds of the communities in the 6th District, emphatic victories by Tierney in the cities of Gloucester, Salem and Lynn proved the difference in returning the eight-term congressman to Washington.