Alex Morse says campaign had best fundraising week after allegations of inappropriate behavior

Massachusetts progressive House candidate Alex Morse’s campaign announced Friday it had its best fundraising week following allegations of inappropriate behavior during his time as mayor of Holyoke, Mass., and as a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. 

Morse, who is challenging House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), raked in a record $257,000 in one week from more than 7,500 donations, according to the campaign, surpassing its previous record of $110,000 from more than 2,200 donations. 

The development comes after Morse’s campaign was rocked by a letter published in UMass Amherst’s student newspaper from the school’s College Democrats’ chapter, alleging inappropriate behavior between Morse and students.

The letter claimed that Morse frequently connected with students on dating apps, added students he met at College Democrats events on Instagram and sent them direct messages and had “sexual contact” with college students at UMass Amherst and other schools.

The letter resulted in the Sunrise Movement suspending its campaigning on his behalf. Additionally, progressive rising star and fellow Democratic House candidate Jamaal Bowman told The Hill he was pausing his endorsement for Morse. 

The story took another turn on Wednesday evening when the Intercept reported that the UMass Amherst College Democrats started discussing ways to damage Morse’s campaign in an effort to help Neal’s campaign as early as October.

The Morse campaign has since seized on the developments, suggesting there could be ties to Neal’s campaign. 

“I think the larger question is why three weeks out from the election, I’m in the position to talk about my personal life and my personal sex life rather than the issues that we got into this fight to begin with last July,” Morse told reporters in a press conference on Thursday. 

Neal in a statement on Thursday denied having any involvement in the publishing of the allegations. 

“I learned about the allegations against Mayor Morse the same way everyone else did, in the Daily Collegian last week,” Neal said. “I also want to be clear: I will not tolerate my name being associated with any homophobic attacks or efforts to criticize someone for who they choose to love. That’s inconsistent with my character and my values.

“Any implications that I or anyone from my campaign are involved are flat wrong and an attempt to distract from the issue at hand,” he added. “I have been and will remain entirely focused on the respective records of myself and Mayor Morse.” 

Morse and Neal are slated to go head-to-head on the debate stage Monday. 

Tags Alex Morse Campaign Fundraising election 2020 Massachusetts Richard Neal

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