The Congressional race between Congressman John Tierney and his Republican opponent Richard Tisei is as close as they get at this rather lazy moment during what is turning out to be a long, hot summer.
Recent twists and turns in this race find Congressman Tierney still very much on the defensive about his personal integrity vis a vis – concerns about his relationship with his brothers-in law, one of whom cannot come back into the United States or he will be arrested and the other who is in jail following his conviction in Federal Court.
The brothers-in-law, basically big time electronic gambling bookmakers who made millions, have said that Congressman Tierney knew all about their scam.
He has denied this but he cannot deny that his wife also served a brief sentence for her role in her brother’s scam.
In other words, Congressman Tierney has been placed on the defensive by assertions coming from many quarters and all asking the same question: “Could he have not known about his brothers-in-law or of his wife’s complicity as he claims?”
The Boston Globe recently informed its readership with a strong lead editorial that voters need to make up their minds about that central question. The editorial quite rightly suggested that it is hard to believe Congressman Tierney did not know what was up with his wife, who passed about $7 million through her checking account for her brothers.
Frankly, that is a hard one to swallow. Even Congressman Tierney looks a bit disingenuous when making the claim, “I didn’t know.”
And what if he did know, what then?
Then voters need to think carefully about the candidacy of Tisei, the former state senator cum real estate man from Lynnfield who is causing Congressman Tierney major league indigestion with a well-organized campaign.
Tisei has been attacking Tierney at every opportunity.
He isn’t attacking the fact that Congressman Tierney is a nice man nor is he making the assertion that he enriched himself with an association with the criminal enterprise run by his brothers-in-law and with the aid of his wife, their sister.
Tisei is simply asking what all of us who have previously voted for Tierney are asking: Did he know and is he lying to us by saying he didn’t know?
This is the crucial question being asked throughout the congressional district.
And this central question will ultimately be answered not so much by Congressman Tierney himself, rather, it will be answered by the ultimate judge and jury, the voters of this district.
The race goes on.
The nagging questions remain.