Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
September 6, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
John Tierney Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
John Tierney Democratic Party
John F Tierney.jpg

Massachusetts U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Massachusetts.png
The 6th Congressional District of Massachusetts held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Incumbent John Tierney (D) won re-election on November 6th, 2012.[1] Tierney's re-election came after a long campaign mired by issues surrounding his wife's legal problems.

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
June 5, 2012
September 6, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Massachusetts has a most closed primary system, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members. In Massachusetts, however, independent voters may select which party's primary to vote in.

Voter registration: Voters were required to register to vote in the primary by August 17, 2012. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 17, 2012.[2]

See also: Massachusetts elections, 2012

Incumbent: Going into the 2012 election, the incumbent was John Tierney (D), who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1996. He won re-election on November 6, 2012.

The 6th Congressional District of Massachusetts, prior to the 2010-2011 redistricting process.

According to the Washington Post, Massachusetts' 6th was a battleground district in 2012, with redistricting making it less solidly Democratic. Furthermore, Democratic incumbent John Tierney faced PR issues and Republican Richard Tisei was a strong candidate with the potential to be the first openly gay, non-incumbent Republican congressman.[3]

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District was located in the northeastern portion of the state and included Middlesex and Essex counties.[4]


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party John TierneyGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Richard Tisei
Libertarian Party Daniel Fishman

Democratic Party September 6 Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian candidate

According to the website Daily Kos, this race was one of nine top-ballot 2012 races that contained Libertarian candidates who received more total votes than was the difference between the Democratic winner and the GOP runner-up. In this case, Daniel Fishman took in over 13,000 more votes than the number that separated Tierney and Tisei.[7]

Election results

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 6 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Tierney Incumbent 46.4% 180,942
     Republican Richard Tisei 45.3% 176,612
     Libertarian Daniel Fishman 4.3% 16,739
     N/A All Others 0.1% 514
     N/A Blank Votes 3.9% 15,045
Total Votes 389,852
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State "Return of Votes"

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Massachusetts

Because Massachusetts lost a seat after the 2010 Census, the state's congressional districts went through significant changes. The 6th District now included Billerica, Tewksbury and part of Andover, which heavily favored Scott Brown in 2010. However, the district's estimated percentage of Democratic votes decreased by less than 1 percent.[5]

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Massachusetts' 6th District became less Democratic because of redistricting.[8]

  • 2012: 54D / 46R
  • 2010: 55D / 45R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measured each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District had a PVI of D+7, which was the 131st most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 58-42 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 58-42 percent over George W. Bush (R).[9]

Race background

Massachusetts' 6th was considered to be Leaning Democratic according to the New York Times race ratings. The primary reason that this district was on the radar was because of Democratic incumbent John Tierney's wife's legal problems. In 2010 she pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting her brother in filing false income tax returns that concealed his illegal offshore gambling business. He was challenged by an openly gay Republican, Richard Tisei.[10]

Republican challenger Richard Tisei was included in the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Guns program. The program highlighted challengers who represented the GOP's best chances to pick up congressional seats in the general election.[11]

On August 7, 2012, the Boston Herald ran an article that suggested that Daniel Fishman's challenge would benefit the Salem Democratic congressman at the expense of U.S. Rep. John Tierney. Pundits quoted in the article said that Fishman's sliver of support could be bad for Richard Tisei.[12]

On September 27, 2012, all three candidates participated in a debate centered on "policy issues related to the 'American Dream."[13]

According to the Washington Post, John Tierney had also been the target of attack ads from YG Action Fund, a conservative PAC supergroup. This highlighted a trend in which super PACs had attempted to swing vulnerable house seats through strategic advertising. These ads were not solicited by the Tisei campaign, but his spokeswomen had voiced her support for them.[14]



The following are two campaigns ads from Republican candidate Richard Tisei and Democratic candidate John Tierney.[15]

Richard Tisei

Richard Tisei, "What People Are Saying"[16]

John Tierney

John Tierney, "Opportunity"[17]

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 2, 2010, John Tierney won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating Bill Hudak (R).[18]

U.S. House of Representatives General Election, Massachusetts, Congressional District 6, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn F. Tierney Incumbent 56.8% 142,732
     Republican Bill Hudak 43% 107,930
     Various All Others 0.2% 419
Total Votes 251,081

Campaign donors

The race attracted $3.7 million in outside spending since Labor Day. $804,825 had been spent helping Democrat John Tierney while $2,852,526 was spent to aid Republican Richard Tisei.[19]

John Tierney

John Tierney (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[20]March 31, 2012$545,616.64$326,163.85$(76,596.11)$795,184.38
July Quarterly[21]June 30, 2012$795,184.38$421,944.13$(524,115.80)$693,012.71
Pre-Primary[22]August 26, 2012$693,012.71$126,353.38$(90,362)$729,003.43
October Quarterly[23]October 25, 2012$729,003.43$381,583.48$(686,070.20)$424,516.71
Pre-General[24]October 25, 2012$424,516.71$140,249.99$(434,152.48)$130,614.22
Running totals

According to a report from Roll Call, Tierney raised over $500,000 in the third quarter.[25]

Richard Tisei

Richard Tisei (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[26]March 31, 2012$260,094.09$354,467.85$(156,335.70)$458,226.24
July Quarterly[27]June 30, 2012$458,226.24$571,317.63$(227,611.10)$801,932.77
Pre-Primary[28]August 25, 2012$801,932.77$172,630.22$(343,620.19)$630,942.80
October Quarterly[29]October 15, 2012$630,942.80$487,895.70$(811,022.23)$307,816.27
Pre-General[30]October 25, 2012$307,816.27$138,772.29$(105,903.93)$340,684.63
Running totals

According to a report from Roll Call, Tisei raised over $650,000 in the third quarter.[25]

External links

See also


  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Massachusetts"
  2. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Voter Registration Information," accessed July 25, 2012
  3. Washington Post blog, "The 10 House districts that might surprise you," May 11, 2012
  4. Massachuestts Redistricting Map, "Map" accessed August 31, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 Reading Patch "Tierney Spokesperson: Negative Effects of Redistricting Overstated," accessed January 3, 2012
  6. Wakefield Patch "Richard Tisei Announces Run for Congress, Pledges to 'Turn Things Around,'" accessed January 3, 2012
  7. Daily Kos, "Libertarians provided the margin for Democrats and at least nine elections," November 15, 2012
  8. , "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Massachusetts," September 2012
  9. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  10. New York Times, "House Race Ratings," accessed August 10, 2012
  11. NRCC "Young Guns 2012"
  12. Boston Herald, "Experts: Libertarian's run likely a boon for Tierney" August 7, 2012
  13., "Candidates in 6th District race to debate ‘American Dream’
  14. The Washington Post, "Conservative super PACs targeting blue-state Democrats," Sept. 17, 2012
  15. Tisei's Campaign Website (Accessed: October 4, 2012)
  16. YouTube channel
  17. YouTube channel
  18. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  19. The New York Times, "Outside Spending in Key House Races," October 25, 2012
  20. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  21. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed November 6, 2012
  23. <Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed November 6, 2012
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-General," accessed November 6, 2012
  25. 25.0 25.1 Roll Call, "Massachusetts: Richard Tisei Outraises John Tierney Again," October 12, 2012
  26. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  27. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed November 6, 2012
  29. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed November 6, 2012
  30. "Federal Election Commission" Pre-General, accessed November 6, 2012