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.