Tierney has sought to define a vote for Tisei as a vote for the conservative Republican House majority — the Tea Party, Paul Ryan, et al — and position himself as an advocate for investing in the middle class, including health care and job creation.
But the family legal troubles that resulted in a one-month sentence and five months of house arrest for his wife, Patrice, last year — after she admitted “willful blindness” to the enterprise and agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud for handling bills and taxes in the United States for one of her brothers — have hung over Tierney.
Tierney in ads and interviews has said he was unaware of any wrongdoing — he believed his brothers-in-law operated a legal offshore gambling company — and that Republicans are distorting it to distract voters.
He called ads from Tisei and outside groups focusing on it “$3 million worth of misinformation and innuendo and insinuation.”
“This is what the Tea Party and my opponent think they have to do to change the discussion from what he stands for and who he would put in charge if elected,” Tierney said, standing on the Peabody block where his campaign and district offices are located.
A Globe poll in late September showed Tisei holding a six percentage point lead over the incumbent, with 30 percent undecided and a 5.1 percentage point margin of error.
A Republican poll conducted last week reported a 50 to 33 lead for Tisei — and a 55-to-40 lead for Scott Brown over Elizabeth Warren among the same Sixth District voters, raising Democratic eyebrows.
The Tierney campaign said its own internal polling last week showed it holding a 41-to-40 lead over Tisei.
In a contest that has taken a number of bitter turns, the two sides and their surrogates continued to spar Monday, with Tisei’s campaign manager, Paul Moore, sending “demand letters” to local networks insisting that advertisements from a super PAC associated with the National Education Association, the NEA Advocacy Fund, be taken down for allegedly seeking “to mislead Massachusetts voters and defame Tisei’s reputation.”
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at email@example.com.