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Barney Frank: Don't Vote For Gay Republican Congressional Candidate Richard Tisei

Former Rep. Barney Frank has weighed in on one of 2014's tightest congressional races, that of his state Massachusetts' sixth district. 

1019_tierney-tisei-620x456It's a headline grabber — incumbent Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) versus Republican challenger Richard Tisei. While Rep. Tierney has been a staunch advocate of LGBT rights, Tisei may be poised to snatch votes from him. Rep. Tierney is staight, and Tisei is openly gay. If elected, Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.

If this story sounds familiar to you, you're not wrong. Two years ago, the same two candidates were squaring off in the same district. That time around, the race wrapped up tight — Tierney's 48% to Tisei's 47. 

This year, things could shake out differently. In February, Tisei was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, leading to a bump in his polling data.

Wednesday evening, former Rep. Frank assembled a group of LGBT donors on Capitol Hill to discuss the congressional race and voice support for the incumbent Tierney.

6a00d8341c730253ef017d3e260216970c-250wiWhile the donors acknowledge allure in the idea that a gay Republican who could shake up the party, many suggest that this is not realistic — that it's more important to reduce the influence of Republican leader and LGBT rights opponent Rep John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Former Rep. Frank expands on the core reasons to not elect Tisei:

"I do believe it is very important to support gay and lesbian candidates. But the notion that we will tell an incumbent who has been absolutely perfect on gay, lesbian, bisexual [and] transgender issues — absolutely perfect — that perfection will do no good because he has sex with the wrong person, [that] is the antithesis of what we should be fighting for."

Concise and whip-smart as ever, but that's Barney Frank for you.

Frank's sentiment is echoed by the incumbent Rep. Tierney. While he would like to have more pro-gay Republcans in Congress, Tierney points out that electing them in the current political climate would have little effect.

"[Pro-gay Republicans aren't] allowed to even vote on the matter [of LGBT rights]. They don't get an opportunity. So you need to change the majority to have the matter brought up," he said. "We have currently a Congress that is going nowhere, slowly, under John Boehner."

[h/t HuffPo]


Gay-Friendly Democrat John Tierney Defeats Gay Republican Richard Tisei in Massachusetts Congressional Race: VIDEO

Tisei

Representative John F. Tierney (D-MA) held on to his House seat from Massachusetts last night, defeating gay Republican candidate Richard Tisei, the Boston Globe reports:

TierneyTierney descended to the ballroom at Salem’s Hawthorne Hotel about 12:30 Wednesday morning to declare victory, holding his wife’s hand aloft and basking in the cheers of 100 remaining supporters. He made an elliptical reference to the family scandal that had dogged him throughout the campaign and provided ample fodder for challenger Richard R. Tisei...

...With all precincts reporting, Tierney held a nearly 4,000-vote lead, collecting 48.3 percent to Tisei’s 47.3 percent.

A late-arriving crowd at the Tierney party swelled to 200 at one point, spirits soaring, when it appeared he would ­retain his seat.

“We were all prepared for the worst given the lead-up to the race,” said Kim Driscoll, Salem’s mayor. “This is just phenomenal, and [we’re] very happily surprised.”

TiseiTisei is not ready to concede, NECN reports:

But, the Tisei team is testing the truth of Tierney’s win. Tisei’s campaign manager, Paul Moore, said he wasn’t able to speak to the town clerk of Lynn and believes there may have been foul play.

“I think at best we have a very incompetent official in Lynn...,” Moore said.

In a statement emailed to NECN, Lynn city clerk and elections chief Mary Audley responded:

"The allegations made by Mr. Tisei’s campaign are unfounded.  We were in City Hall from 6:30 a.m. yesterday morning until 9:30 p.m.  Our phones were extremely busy, but nobody came into the office to make any complaints.  We received no calls from the Secretary of State’s Office regarding any such allegations and no voters were challenged. Other than that, I really have no comment as to what he believes other campaigns did or did not do.  We are committed to running every election to the letter of the law and to allege otherwise is quite offensive."

Watch NECN's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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