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Democrats lack moral courage to deal with John Tierney (D, MA-06).

Roll Call probably should have expanded John Tierney’s money/campaign woes into its own post, but the details are still tantalizing: The Massachusetts Democrat has less money in the bank and has raised less money in the last three quarters than has GOP challenger Richard Tisei. The reason why Tierney is floundering, of course, is because the embattled Congressman has a bit of an in-law problem. As in, they keep getting convicted of felonies… and they keep insisting that Tierney was involved in said felonies, too. This has had an… effect on the race, in much the same way that ignoring the engine light going off can have an effect on your car’s performance; it’s going to get expensive eventually, but you just don’t know when.

Still, judging how this is going is complicated. On the one hand, I think that Cook is being too generous to Tierney calling this one Lean Democratic, but then the polling is kind of sparse, and old. On the other hand, local Democrats are trying to even now recruit an ‘independent’ (the deadline for getting into the Democratic primary has passed). And, on the gripping hand, as Roll Call also noted the DCCC is doubling down: “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC have reserved a combined $5.6 million in ad time in the Boston market. The market includes Tierney’s district but also covers two competitive races in New Hampshire.”

5.6 million is a good deal of cash for even three elections (although it’s certainly true that throwing money at the NH races is going to be a popular past-time over the next few months*). It’s particularly eyebrow-raising because Tierney, frankly, is now a liability for the Democrats. If he’s not even able to out-raise his opponent AND is operating with the threat of an indictment hanging over him AND is hemorrhaging support… he should not be the candidate. And even if he is the candidate, propping Tierney up with money that could have been spent elsewhere seems contraindicated.

Not that it matters at all what my opinion is on this, of course (and thankfully, in this particular case). We saw this happen a good bit in 2010: you had a lot of Democratic Members of Congress that were either determined or persuaded to try to keep their seats, long after it became clear that they had no hope of retaining them. Tierney clearly thinks that he can survive 2012 the same way that he did 2010; and, thanks to the somewhat arcane (and probably deliberately incumbent-friendly) rules of the Massachusetts primary system, he’s being encouraged in his delus… err, beliefs. Ah, karma: it’s what’s for dinner.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass are both in very competitive districts; fortunately, they’re both incumbents – and both are blessed with opponents that they’ve beaten before. Not to mention opponents whose response to Do you support President Obama’s Afghanistan and Iraq policies? will either be a scowl, or a quick subject change.

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