Sessions: Tierney Is GOP's Top Target
Redistricting set up some good pickup opportunities for House Republicans across the South, but National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Pete Sessions says the GOP's best opportunity to beat a Democratic incumbent is tucked away in deep blue New England.
Asked who the most vulnerable House Democrat was on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers," Sessions said: "I believe that John Tierney probably has a bulls-eye right on him. John has had a number of people who have looked at his record of how he has handled some personal issues within his family.... I believe Richard Tisei would be that one person who stands a great chance of beating an incumbent Democrat that's run against him."
The comments, taped Tuesday afternoon, will be aired on Sunday's broadcast of the show. Sessions chose Tierney over a number of seriously-vulnerable Southern Democrats, like Reps. Larry Kissell, D-N.C. and John Barrow, D-Ga. (He mentioned both those members as being highly vulnerable, as well.)
Tierney's Massachusetts 6th District is the most Republican-leaning in the state, though that's not saying all that much: President Obama still carried 57 percent of the vote there in 2008, and only a handful of GOP House seats are that blue-hued. But Tierney's wife and brother-in-law were convicted on charges related to running an offshore gambling ring, and the scandal threatens what would otherwise be a safe Democratic seat. Tierney has denied knowledge of the enterprise, though his brother-in-law said after being convicted that the congressman was aware of the activities at the time, charges that Tierney has again denied.
Tisei, a former state senator, outraised Tierney in the last financial quarter and would become the only openly gay Republican in the House if he wins in November.