Congressman John Tierney, of Salem, was the first one to bring up his wife’s family’s legal problems during Wednesday night’s debate, accusing challenger Richard Tisei of attacking his wife’s family to get to him.
It was an issue that was left out of the first debate involving the two in Lynn last week and a topic that the Boston Herald had previously reported would be left out of several debates at the request of Tierney.
“You attacked my wife and her family as a way to get to me,” Tierney said to Tisei, who was seated opposite Libertarian candidate Daniel Fishman of Beverly on stage in the auditorium at Danvers High School.
Tierney’s statement came in response to a question from Salem News Managing Editor Helen Gifford asking about the tone of the campaign.
Before Tierney spoke, Tisei defended the tone of the campaign, noting he has run four positive commercials and that Tierney’s ads attacking him have been “way over the top.”
Tisei said he is the only gay, pro-choice Congressional candidate in the country that has not signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge that is being accused of being a “Tea Party extremist.”
“It speaks to the Congressman’s credibility more than mine,” Tisei said.
Tierney said that his ad uses Tisei’s own words and record and that his ads are not misleading.
“What you just heard from Congressman Tierney is exactly what the problem is in this country,” Tisei said.
Unlike the first debate involving the thee candidate in the Sixth Congressional District that focused on “The American Dream,” Wednesday night’s event was wide ranging, covering everything from the United States’ relationship with Israel to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. In addition to the Salem News, the debate was sponsored by the Jewish Journal.
Fishman, who received the same three minutes to answer each question that Tierney and Tisei got, said his campaign conducted a poll that found 80 percent of voters in the district would vote for Fishman if Tierney and Tisei were not running.
“Only 20 percent of you find me objectionable,” he said, noting that the poll also found that the race is a dead heat.”
The crowd was feisty, cheering and booing at several times during the 70 minute long debate that filled almost every one of the 600 seats in the auditorium.
Were you at the debate? Who won? Why? Tell us in the comments.