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 NealDemocrats push judge for quick action on Trump tax returns lawsuit Trump argues NY tax return case should take place in DC NY files motion to keep Trump tax returns lawsuit out of DC court 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 TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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 PressleyFormer GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas NJ college censures trustee over posts targeting 'the squad' 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.