Progressive mayor launches primary challenge to top Ways and Means Democrat

Alex Morse, the 30-year-old mayor of Holyoke, Mass., announced a primary challenge to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealJudge sides with NY officials in Trump tax return lawsuit On The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed MORE (D-Mass.), a 30-year-incumbent, on Monday.

In his announcement video, Morse said that Neal has lacked urgency to push progressive ideas in his powerful seat.

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“There's an urgency to this moment in Massachusetts’s 1st District and our country, and that urgency is not matched by our current representative in Congress,” Morse said in a video announcing his candidacy. 

"We need new leadership that understands that we can no longer settle for small, incremental and compromising progress. We need to be on offense. We need to be fighting for something, not just against."

Neal, 70, has been criticized by progressives for not taking aggressive enough steps to acquire President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE's tax returns.

He has also taken flak for opposing initiating impeachment proceedings and "Medicare for All."

Morse, Holyoke’s youngest and first openly gay mayor, highlighted his work to revitalize the city and promised to take no corporate PAC money for his campaign.

Neal has been relatively unchallenged during his 30 years representing Massachusetts's 1st District. In 2018 he defeated a primary challenger 70 percent to 29 percent.

However, there is precedent for primary upsets in the state — in 2018, Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJustice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (D-Mass.) defeated 20-year incumbent Rep. Michael CapuanoMichael (Mike) Everett CapuanoInside the progressive hunt for vulnerable House Democrats Progressive mayor launches primary challenge to top Ways and Means Democrat Ex-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm MORE (D) in Boston.