Boehner hosts fundraiser for Tisei

Boehner hosts fundraiser for Tisei

Speaker reportedly says GOP needs to go national

Seeking to bolster the Republican majority in the US House, Speaker John Boehner hosted a fundraiser for Congressional candidate Richard Tisei Tuesday morning at the Harvard Club in downtown Boston.

Tisei, who is challenging incumbent US Rep. John Tierney in the Sixth District, told reporters outside 1 Federal Street that he was thrilled to have Boehner raising money for him, but walked a fine line in discussing what role he would play in what is expected to be another Republican majority in the House.

Tisei said voters from Massachusetts need to elect a Republican who will have a seat at the table as the House majority party deals with issues important to the state, such as fuel assistance and the future of Hanscom Air Force Base. But Tisei insisted Boehner’s financial help would not translate into blind allegiance to the speaker down in Washington.

“I’m not going to agree with the speaker on every issue,” Tisei said. “I’m my own person.”

The Tisei-Tierney race has gained national prominence as Republicans sense a chance to pick up a seat in heavily Democratic Massachusetts. Polls have shown Tisei, a former state lawmaker, with a small lead. Republicans haven’t had a House member from Massachusetts since 1996, when Tierney defeated former Rep. Peter Torkildsen  and former Rep. Peter Blute lost his seat to Rep. Jim McGovern.

Blute, who is now the deputy chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, said about 100 people showed up at the Boehner fundraiser, including former ambassador Christopher Egan, former Registrar of Motor Vehicles Jerold Gnazzo,  and former state GOP chair Jennifer Nassour. Blute said Boehner, who stopped in Boston as part of a swing through New England on behalf of Republican candidates, told the crowd that the Republican Party has to be a national party and not isolated to only some regions of the country.

“In the last decade or so, it’s become too twangish, too southern,” Blute said.

John Walsh, the chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, showed up outside the fundraiser with a different take on what was going on inside. He said Boehner is raising money for Tisei to bolster the Republican agenda in Washington.

“They’re looking for someone who’s going to support their agenda,” Walsh said. “John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and Eric Cantor have found a candidate they can support.”

 Tisei has already received significant advertising support from a conservative super PAC called Young Guns, which has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into negative ads attacking Tierney. Young Guns was founded by Cantor, the House majority leader, and GOP vice president nominee Ryan.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Boehner himself did not come out for a chat, and aides to Tisei were tight-lipped about how much money the event was expected to raise.

Home page photo from Flickr by House Speaker John Boehner’s office. Published under a creative commons license.