The hottest congressional race in Massachusetts is happening on the North Shore, with Rep. John Tierney fighting for his political life against Republican challenger Richard Tisei. But a third candidate—– Libertarian Dan Fishman — could determine the outcome of that close race.

A recent poll put Fishman’s support at 7 percent. That's enough to decide who wins and loses the Tierney/Tisei match.

Fishman seemed undaunted by that possibility. “I’m not running to weaken either party,” he said. “Let the chips fall where they may in terms of election or how it affects either candidate. I’m running to restore power to the people.”

A former Republican, Fishman abandoned the party because he objected to its position on social issues. He now considers himself a social and fiscal libertarian, and spent over a year gather signatures to qualify in the 6th Congressional race.

Fishman said he was propelled into the race by what he considered an erosion of personal liberties.

"There was a very specific catalyst to my deciding why I had to run, which was when the National Defense Authorization Act was passed at the beginning of this year – and they suspended habeas corpus,” Fishman explained. “If the government suspects you of terrorism, they can lock you up, hold you, without right to an attorney, without right to a speedy trial. That is the sort of thing I could not let pass. I have no desire to be a politician. I don't really want this job. I'm standing up because I believe it's my civic duty."

Even with his passion for the issues, Fishman has been reduced to the role of spoiler in a contentious race.

“When I first announced, the [Boston] Herald ran a story saying I was a shill,“ he said. “We had a debate where a lot of things came up, and they said 'We don’t want you to run because we think you’re going to take votes away from John Tierney.'”

But despite his underdog status, he’s hoping enough voters will take note to help him build traction. “I think,” said Fishman, “everybody should inform themselves of the facts.” 

Watch the entire interview: