Republican congressional candidate Richard R. Tisei, who is positioning himself as a moderate willing to cross party lines, held a high-dollar fundraiser with House Speaker John Boehner at the Harvard Club in Boston today.
About 100 people attended the fundraiser, and paid a minimum of $1,000 each, Tisei said.
Reporters were not allowed to attend, but Tisei said Boehner, of Ohio, urged those in attendance to rally around his campaign against Representative John F. Tierney, which is viewed as one of the most competitive in Massachusetts and nationally.
According to Tisei, Boehner told the donors that “in order for the Republican Party to be a truly national party, you need to have representatives from all over the country, including the Northeast.”
Democrats pounced on Boehner’s visit, saying it shows Tisei will fall in line with the House’s conservative leadership, despite his bipartisan campaign rhetoric.
“John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and Eric Cantor believe that Richard Tisei is going to help them advance their agenda,” John Walsh, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, said in an interview today.
Walsh also held a press conference outside the fundraiser. “Tisei just can’t have it both ways,” he said.
Grant Herring, a Tierney spokesman, said in a statement that the fundraiser shows that Tisei will not be an independent voice in Congress.
“Mr. Tisei’s posh fundraiser with Speaker Boehner confirms what voters already know: Tisei will be a rubber stamp for the extreme agenda of Tea Party Republicans,’’ Herring said.
Tisei dismissed that criticism, saying he believes it is important for Massachusetts to have at least one Republican in the House who can work directly with Boehner, even if the two do not agree on every issue.
“I don’t think there’s anybody who would refer to Speaker Boehner as an extremist,” said Tisei, a former state senator from Wakefield. “He’s somebody who is willing to make a deal and willing to move the country forward and, it’s true there are some more extreme elements in the Republican caucus, but, I think the speaker looks at me as somebody who is very pragmatic, who is going to try to do the best for the country.”
It was the second time Boehner has come to Boston to help raise money for Tisei.
In June, Boehner held a fundraiser at the Taj Boston hotel for the New England Victory Fund, which supports Tisei, as well as Republican Representatives Charles Bass and Frank Guinta in New Hampshire.
“Whenever the speaker of the House is in the area, it’s an honor to have him stop in and do an event for me,” Tisei said.Michael Levenson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.