The Democratic mayor attempting to unseat the current chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee scored a big endorsement from the progressive wing of his party yesterday. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's political action committee Courage to Change threw its support behind Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse in his race against long-time incumbent Richard Neal in the state's First Congressional District. The primary takes place September 1.
"We've had a really exciting day," Morse announced via Twitter yesterday. "We were just endorsed by AOC's PAC Courage to Change."
"When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took on her own entrenched incumbent in 2018, she changed public service for the better, further inspiring me and so many others to fight for our districts and empower those who have long been forgotten," Morse said in another statement reported by The New York Times. "I am honored to have the congresswoman's Courage to Change in our corner, and it will be the honor of my life to bring the people alongside me to Washington."
Morse is challenging fellow Democrat Richard Neal. Neal is the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which writes all tax laws. The district in Western Massachusetts is heavily Democratic, so the winner of the primary is expected to win the general election in November.
Morse was recently accused of inappropriate contact with students at a local college. Leaders of the College Democrats at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College reportedly manufactured a sexual misconduct scandal against Morse by claiming he used his position as a part-time lecturer to engage in inappropriate relationships with students. Copies of chats appeared to show members trying to unsuccessfully entrap Morse. In screenshots, one of those organizers also suggested that they could use the plot to curry favor with Neal in order to get a job. When the group could find no wrongdoing, they accused him in a letter anyway. Morse said all the relationships were consensual and none involved students in his classes. He has blasted the attacks as homophobic.