Massachusetts Democratic MP Richard Neal, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee, survived a key challenge from progressive challenger Alex Morse on Tuesday in a race that featured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic MP from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, had ruled against opponents sides, according to a projection by the Associated Press.
71-year-old Neal, who has served in Congress since 1989, was endorsed by Pelosi and Republican governor Charlie Baker in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District of Massachusetts.
Ocasio-Cortez’s PAC endorsed Morse when the young congresswoman again waded into a Massachusetts elementary school on the opposite side of the house speaker. Pelosi drew the ire of “AOC”
AOC gets into another primary fight, goes again against Pelosi in Massachusetts
The 31-year-old Morse has been mayor of his hometown since he was 22 years old. He praised the AOC’s support for the Courage to Change PAC as a great boost to his campaign and their common goal of building a progressive majority in Congress.
Morse also had the support of the Sunrise Movement climate group and the Justice Democrats. He advocated important progressive issues such as Medicare for All and Green New Deal.
Morse, who is openly gay, was embroiled in a scandal in early August when Democratic college groups accused him of “using his platform and using his position of power for romantic or sexual purposes, especially against young students”.
An email signed by College Democrats of Massachusetts, U-Mass.-Amherst Democrats, and Amherst College Democrats alleged that Morse had “sexual contact” with students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he was lecturing on political science. The three groups dumped Morse on all future events.
In a statement to the Daily Collegian, Morse admitted “having consensual relationships with adults, including college students”. He said he apologized “to anyone I was uncomfortable with”.
“I want to make it clear that every relationship I’ve had was consensual. However, I also recognize that I need to be aware of my position of power, ”Morse said in the statement. “I am determined to meet with any person or group, including the College Dems, to answer questions and resolve concerns.”
MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE DEMOCRATS accuse house candidate of inappropriate “sexual contact”
UMass-Amherst called the allegations “deeply worrying” and said the university had no plans to reinstate Morse.
Ocasio-Cortez, 30, became the youngest woman to be elected to Congress when she defeated powerful Queens MP Joe Crowley in an angry victory in 2018. Since then, Ocasio-Cortez has tried to get more like-minded progressives into Congress, such as Morse, by putting their advocacy and fundraising skills behind other political newcomers.
Examples of recent achievements include Jamaal Bowman, who defeated New York MP Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Marie Newman, who defeated Illinois MP, Dan Lipinski, earlier this year.