The 71-year-old Neal — the longest-serving member of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation — defeated 31-year-old Morse, seen as a political rising star after becoming one of Massachusetts’ youngest and only openly gay mayors since becoming chief executive of Holyoke in 2011 at age 22.
Groups like the Sunshine Movement and Our Revolution Massachusetts have gone all-in for progressive insurgent and Holyoke, Mass., Mayor Alex Morse (D), who is taking on House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.).
As the primary in Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District turned into a national story following allegations of misconduct against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, the state Democratic Party declined to weigh in, citing its policy to remain neutral in contested primaries.
But behind the scenes, the state party had been coordinating with the College Democrats of Massachusetts to launch those very allegations, according to five sources within the state party and connected to the CDMA, a review of messages between party leadership and CDMA leadership, and call records obtained by The Intercept.
The leadership of the University of Massachusetts Amherst College Democrats began discussing an operation they believed could sink the campaign of Alex Morse for Congress as far back as last October, a plan they then helped engineer and which came to fruition on Friday, after the College Democrats sent a letter regarding Morse to the Daily Collegian, the school’s student newspaper.
Neal is facing off against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse on Sept. 1 in the Democratic primary, with Morse running hard to Neal’s left in another safe seat for Democrats. The liberal group Fight Corporate Monopolies, a new PAC formed after the end of the Sanders presidential campaign this year, has funded at least $300,000 in ads going after Neal for a history of financial support from corporate PACs.
Last year, Morse in an interview with Mother Jones aligned himself with the group of four young Democratic congresswomen of color nicknamed “the Squad” — Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
“Those four members of Congress in particular represent very courageous and progressive voices in our party, so it would be an honor to get to Congress and work alongside them,” Morse said.
Progressives energized by last week’s congressional primaries have another high-ranking House Democrat in their sights: Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal of Massachusetts.
Neal, 71, is facing a challenge from Alex Morse, a 31-year-old mayor who was born just a few weeks after Neal began his first term in Congress.