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.
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.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.