Bowman pauses endorsement of Alex Morse after allegations of inappropriate sexual relations
Progressive House candidate Jamaal Bowman said on Tuesday that he is putting a “pause” on his endorsement of Massachusetts congressional candidate Alex Morse (D) after allegations surfaced that the Holyoke, Mass., mayor engaged in inappropriate sexual relations with college students.
“As a school principal, I believe it’s important to listen to students and to be sensitive to the unequal power dynamics in these relationships,” Bowman said in a statement to the Hill. “That’s why I’ve decided to put a pause on my endorsement and any campaign activity for Alex Morse while we learn more about the situation.”
Morse campaigned for Bowman in June during the New York progressive’s primary challenge against 16-term Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in the state’s 16th District.
Bowman’s statement comes after the Sunrise Movement suspended its campaigning for Morse. Additionally, the group’s Western Massachusetts Coalition announced on Monday that its members voted to rescind its endorsement of the Holyoke mayor.
Morse is facing an investigation into allegations that he had sexual relationships with students while teaching at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
The mayor has maintained that the relationships were consensual and that he did not use his position of power as mayor or as a lecturer to take advantage of students.
“One thing I will not apologize for is being a young person and having other consensual adult relationships,” Morse said in an interview with Hill.TV on Tuesday. “I want to be very clear: Never in my adult life have I been part of a nonconsensual relationship or sexual encounter with anyone.”
“[The media] has given more scrutiny to my personal sex life than they have ever given scrutiny to Congressman Neal’s corruption and the way in which he has used his power over a 30-year period,” he said.
Morse is posing a primary challenge to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) in the Massachusetts Democratic primary on Sept. 1.