Tisei, Moulton Hold First Debate in 6th District Contest

Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional District candidate Seth Moulton (D)speaks at a debate hosted by the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce at the Porthole Restaurant at 98 Lynnway in Lynn, Mass. (Photo by Jun Tsuboike/BU News Service)
Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional District candidate Seth Moulton (D)speaks at a debate hosted by the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce at the Porthole Restaurant at 98 Lynnway in Lynn, Mass. (Photo by Jun Tsuboike/BU News Service)

By Taylor Walker
BU News Service

LYNN – Candidates for the sixth congressional district squared-off face to face for the first time Friday morning, sparring over health care and campaign finances.

The hour-long debate at Porthole Restaurant between Republican Richard Tisei and Democrat Seth Moulton was sponsored by the Lynn Chamber of Commerce.

The debate came in the wake of a surprising endorsement of Moulton by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also endorsed Republican Charlie Baker.

Tisei criticized his opponent’s allegiance to the race right off the bat, addressing Moulton’s recent debate cancellation to attend a fundraiser with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman.

“He has raised more money on Wall Street than he did in this district, ” Tisei said.

Moulton quickly disputed Tisei’s characterization of his relationship with campaign contributors and Super PAC funds. “I’m not beholden to my donors anywhere, ” he said.

In response to a question about the Affordable Care Act, both candidates voiced concerns about its legitimacy. Tisei described the act as a “disaster” for the Bay State and affirmed the need for a waiver from some provisions of the act.

Moulton said the act is in need of a fix, however he believes the state’s withdrawal from the program would be detrimental.

“It’s not a political reality and it’s a practical reality for all of the Americans who rely on that care,” said Moulton.

A major point of contention boiled over regarding influence on Capitol Hill. Moulton portrayed Tisei as unable to influence the state party, referencing gay marriage as a primary example.

“You can’t even get the party to agree on the values that we all share in Massachusetts, ” he said.

In February, the Massachusetts Republican State Committee voted to affirm traditional marriage as part of their platform. Tisei, who is married to a man, boycotted the party’s convention in March in protest.

“Both of us can sit here and say we’ll be independent voices but the fact is that I have the record,” said Tisei.

Today’s debate was the first of at least six scheduled between the two candidates before election day. Follow the BU News Service’s live election coverage on November 4.

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