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Republican Richard Tisei, a former state senator from Wakefield, is launching another bid to unseat veteran Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney.
Tisei — who formally announced his 2014 campaign in a video released Thursday morning — narrowly lost to Tierney by 1 point in the 2012 election, even as Tierney faced questions about his family's finances, particularly the extent to which he knew about an illegal gambling operation run by his brothers-in-law.
Tisei blames that loss on Democrats that unfairly likened him — a gay, socially liberal Republican — to the socially conservative Tea Party.
While the state's 6th Congressional District, where 58 percent of voters are unenrolled, is seen as the most competitive in Massachusetts, Tisei faces a tough battle. Republicans have lost the last 92 consecutive U.S. House races here. But analysts say of all Massachusetts politicians, Tisei has the best bet to end that drought.
"Gabriel Gomez won there in 2013, Scott Brown won there in 2012," said Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group. "There's certainly some history there of voting for Republicans."
Nationally, the 6th district is also seen as one of the most hotly contested elections, with both parties already pouring resources into the state.
Koczela says Tisei should fare better in 2014 because the atmosphere is different.
"Just on the raw mechanics, 2014 is a better year than 2012 for him," Koczela said. "He won't have Obama and Warren at the top of the ticket hoping to pull support."
A spokesman for Tierney says Tisei's political agenda is out of touch.
"Richard would be just another vote for Speaker Boehner and the same Tea Party Republicans who shut down the government and furloughed thousands of Massachusetts workers," Tierney aide Daniel Rubin said in a statement.