BOSTON (AP) — Political newcomer Seth Moulton is setting his sights on Republican Richard Tisei in the state's 6th Congressional District, having pulled off the stunning defeat of nine-term incumbent U.S. Rep. John Tierney in a bitter Democratic primary contest.
Tierney is the first sitting Massachusetts congressman to lose a primary since 1992, when former U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan beat then-incumbent Chester Atkins in the Democratic primary.
Moulton, a former Marine and Iraq war veteran from Salem, will face Tisei in November. He credited his win Tuesday in part on voter frustration with Congress.
"It's time for a new approach to end the gridlock in Washington," Moulton told supporters Tuesday night. "It's not enough to blame the Republicans for the lack of progress at a time when our country faces so many challenges. And it's cynical to think we must accept it."
Tierney, in a brief concession speech, said he was proud of "an amazing 18 years" in office.
Moulton ran a well-financed campaign, suggesting Tierney had been ineffective in Congress.
Tierney is the fourth House incumbent and first Democrat to lose a primary this year. He joins Republican Reps. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the former majority leader, and Ralph Hall of Texas on the House casualty list.
During much of the primary Tierney had focused his attention on Tisei.
Then, late in the primary, Tierney launched a campaign ad linking Moulton to Republicans who support gun rights and oppose abortion rights. The ad focused on money the Moulton campaign received from the White Mountain PAC, which is affiliated with former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican.
Moulton said the ad showed that Tierney believed he was a serious challenger.
Moulton had argued he would have a stronger chance of holding off Tisei, a former state senator from Wakefield who lost to Tierney by less than 1 percent of the vote in the 2012 election.
"I look forward to contrasting our vision with that of Richard Tisei's," Moulton said. "We won't get fresh thinking and new leadership by sending someone to Washington who was first elected to office when I was 6 years old."
Tisei said he'll be the most effective advocate for change and progress in Washington.
"Seth himself has said repeatedly in Congress he would vote the same as John Tierney," Tisei said in a statement. "That means Seth (Moulton) will rubber stamp the failed direction Washington is taking our country."
Immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco and two other Democrats, John Gutta and John Patrick Devine, were also on the Democratic primary ballot.
Moulton, a 35-year-old businessman and Harvard University graduate who enlisted in the Marines in 2001, has expressed his opposition to another ground war in Iraq as President Barack Obama considers the nation's options for fighting back against Islamic State militants.
Moulton also backs abortion and gay rights, tighter restrictions on gun ownership and comprehensive immigration reform.
The general election could be hard fought. Republicans have seen the 6th Congressional District at their best chance to pick up a seat in Massachusetts.
Tisei has already been the beneficiary of a $350,000 ad buy from the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce earlier in the year. The 30-second ad, which ran on TV and online in May, portrayed Tisei as "an independent voice for Massachusetts."