Military Veteran Moulton Wins Congressional Seat
By Margaret Waterman and Keri McAlpine
BU News Service
SALEM _ “Seth, Seth, Seth,” supporters cheered Tuesday night as a beaming Seth Moulton took the stage to celebrate his victory over Richard Tisei for a congressional seat. Both candidates had been relative unknowns in the 6th congressional district race.
Moulton, a 36-year-old who served four tours with the Marines in Iraq, won handily over the 52-year-old Tisei, a former state representative, in the end. With 73 percent of the precincts reporting, he led Tisei 55.5 percent to 39.8 percent, according to The Associated Press.
“It’s exciting, it’s energizing, but it’s also humbling,” said Moulton, who had never run for office before and believed he would provide a fresh take because so few veterans currently serve on Capitol Hill.
Moulton, who spent much of the night watching results at his home in Salem, gave his victory speech at the Salem Waterfront Hotel before roughly 200 people at 10 p.m., about a half hour after Tisei had called him to concede. Moulton thanked his supporters and vowed to fight to fix the economy as well as improve education in Massachusetts. Above all, Moulton said he would fight for U.S. war veterans.
“There is perhaps no place that we have more work to do than in veteran’s care,” Moulton said. “”Our veterans should receive the best care that our country has to offer… We can do better, we must do better and I won’t stop fighting until veterans across America get the care they need.”
In September, Moulton beat nine-term incumbent U.S. Representative John F. Tierney in the Democratic primary, and Tisei, who had come close to defeating Tierney three years ago, had thought he had a chance this time.
Tisei’s supporters, who gathered at the Kowloon restaurant in Saugus, were silent once results were known but erupted into cheers when Tisei and husband Bernie Starr walked through the crowd. Tisei spoke with a smile on his face and explained how, despite the undesirable ending of the race, it was worth it, along with all of the other work he has done in politics.
“I feel like the work I did in the Senate improved people’s lives at state level, but also at a personal level,” Tisei said. “In the time I’ve spent in public service I’ve helped a lot of people and helped them move forward. I want to say we do face a lot of problems as a country, and it’s important for Democrats and Republicans to come together.”
Originally from Somerville, Tisei was a state lawmaker for 26 years and was the youngest Republican representative in the state’s history. In 2010, Tisei led opposition to the sales tax increase and offered more than $1 billion in cost-saving reform measures. Now a Wakefield resident, he also helped with the passing of Massachusetts Welfare Reform, which became a model for the nation.
The whole Tisei family was at Kowloon as the announcement of the results grew near. The large Italian family included cousins and extended family.
“The state of Massachusetts lost an advocate for our people,” said Warren Razzaboni, Tisei’s cousin, after the results were announced. “He would have done a great job in Congress.”
Moulton’s supporters, most of whom wore blue and white Moulton for Congress buttons, thought his advocacy for veterans helped add to the candidate’s appeal.
Bill Picard, a veteran who was wearing a hat covered in ribbons, a flag pin and an “I Voted” sticker, said he cast a ballot for Moulton and volunteered for his campaign because of his unwavering commitment to helping veterans.
“He’s got all the reason in the world to support veterans because he is one,” Picard, of Beverly, said. “He understands what’s happening to veterans.”
Picard, who served in the Air Force from 1968 to 1975, said Moulton was a straight shooter.
“He doesn’t owe anybody anything, and I really believe that he’ll go in with no excuses,” he said.
Kathlene Gibbs, Kalie Greenberg, and Alexandra Volpicelli also reported from Moulton and Tisei headquarters.
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