Former GOP House Candidate Marries Gay Partner

Nathan L. Gonzales July 31, 2013 · 9:26 AM EDT

Massachusetts Republican Richard Tisei married his longtime partner earlier this month in the aftermath of losing one of the closest congressional races in the country — and probably just a few months before he begins another House campaign.

In 2012, Tisei came oh-so-close to defeating Democratic Rep. John F. Tierney in Massachusetts’ 6th District. In a race that many Democrats thought was a lost cause by Election Day, the incumbent won 46 percent to 45 percent — a margin of less than 5,000 votes.

Tierney was buoyed by a strong top of the ticket that included President Barack Obama and now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And Democratic attempts to tie the GOP nominee to tea party conservatives in the House were effective enough. Here’s an example of one anti-Tisei spot along those lines from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Future efforts to force Tisei into the extremist box may not resonate quite as well next year.

For now, Tisei is actively exploring a rematch but taking some personal time after running for Congress and lieutenant governor in back-to-back elections.

“I’m leaving my calendar open for the next 16 months,” Tisei told Boston Globe reporter and Roll Call alumnus Joshua Miller.

Miller went on to explain Tisei’s current thinking:

Tisei … said in a telephone interview there were three questions that he was mulling as he moved toward a decision, which he expected to make by summer’s end.

The first was whether he could offer more effective representation for the district. The second was if he could help strengthen the Massachusetts delegation’s “clout in Congress,” where the US House of Representatives is currently controlled by the GOP. And the third was whether he thought he could help “change the poisonous atmosphere” in Washington, D.C.

“If I feel like I can check off all three of those boxes, I’d be very inclined” to make a run, he said.

Even though Tisei hasn’t publicly declared his intentions, most Republican strategists expect him to run and would be very disappointed if he didn’t. Without Tisei, Republicans have virtually no chance at winning the seat. With him, it could be one of the best GOP takeover opportunities in the country.

Tierney narrowly won in a good Democratic year in 2012. He faces a primary challenge next year that could take up some time and resources. And the House Ethics Committee revealed July 26 that Tierney is one of four members under review for alleged misconduct.

Massachusetts’ 6th District is currently rated Lean Democrat.

For a party that is routinely criticized for being too closed-minded, Republicans would love to promote Tisei and Carl DeMaio, the gay former San Diego city councilman, as top House recruits throughout the cycle.

[7/31 Update: Tierney's margin of victory was updated.]