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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 express concerns about IRS readiness for next year's filing season On The Money: Kudlow confident that Trump can 'round up' Senate GOP behind coronavirus relief deal | US deficit spikes to record .1T Top Democrat: Tax credit expansions must be in next coronavirus relief package 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 TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven 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 PressleyProgressive lawmakers call for United Nations probe into DHS 'human rights abuses' Ocasio-Cortez hits Trump for 'disrespect' over calling her AOC during debates Democrats unveil bill to reduce police violence against people with mental illness MORE (D-Mass.) defeated 20-year incumbent Rep. Michael CapuanoMichael (Mike) Everett CapuanoHillicon Valley: Election officials prepare for new Russian interference battle | 'Markeyverse' of online fans helps take down a Kennedy | GOP senators unveil bill to update tech liability protections 'Markeyverse' of online fans helps take down a Kennedy Inside the progressive hunt for vulnerable House Democrats MORE (D) in Boston.