BOSTON (AP) - U.S. Rep. John Tierney is linking Republican opponent Richard Tisei to the tea party in a new attack ad launched less than two months before the election.
In Tierney's first television ad of the campaign, which hit airwaves Wednesday, the Massachusetts Democrat portrays Tisei as a Republican who is in line with conservative values on issues such as birth control and taxes. The ad says Tisei called the tea party a godsend for the GOP and that the openly gay Republican will support conservative policies.
"Richard Tisei cannot hide his allegiance to the Tea Party and must be held accountable for his positions," Tierney campaign spokesman Grant Herring said in a statement.
Tisei responded to the ad by urging voters in Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District to "consider the source" of the ad and examine his opponent's record in Congress.
"All John Tierney has to offer the voters is fear itself," Tisei said in a statement. Tierney has been targeted by GOP leaders as being perhaps the most politically vulnerable of the state's all-Democratic House delegation, as the incumbent faces claims that he had knowledge of the illegal nature of a gambling venture being operated by his two brothers-in-law in the Caribbean.
Tierney denies knowing that the Antigua-based gambling business was operating illegally. But while no evidence has been found directly linking Tierney to the scheme, opponents have jumped on the opportunity to question the Democrat's integrity.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has made a push for Tisei, identifying him in its "Young Gun" campaign and making the race a priority for the GOP.
Last week the YG Action Fund, a conservative Super PAC, launched a negative television ad against Tierney questioning his integrity. It also urges the congressman to "tell the whole truth." The fund reported spending $818,200 on the ad.
Nathaniel Sillin, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said allegations like those facing Tierney have "helped put Republicans on the offense throughout the Northeast," an area of the country that is traditionally Democratic-leaning.