Rep. Neal far outraising challenger Morse

  • Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, left, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, right. The two Democrats are running against each other for Neal’s seat in the First Congressional District in 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTOS

Staff Writer
Published: 10/16/2019 9:14:47 PM

HOLYOKE — New filings show that in the contested U.S. House race in the 1st Congressional District, longtime incumbent Richard Neal has raised almost three times as much money as his Democratic challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.

Quarterly Federal Election Commission filings show Neal raised $619,082 from July 1 through Sept. 30. Of that total, 63 percent came from political action committees, or PACs. Morse, who raised $216,955, has criticized Neal for taking corporate PAC money and received all of his own contributions from individual donors.

At the end of the reporting period, Neal’s campaign had $4,309,786 in cash on hand, compared to Morse’s $122,939.

Fundraising has been a central theme in the primary campaign between Neal, the chairman of the influential Ways and Means Committee and a powerful member of the Democratic Party, and Morse, who was first elected mayor of Holyoke eight years ago when he was 22 years old.

When Morse entered the race on July 22, he announced that he would not accept corporate PAC money, instead relying on grassroots funding from individual donors. He contrasted his approach with that of Neal, who is No. 3 on a list of House candidates who raised the most PAC money in 2020, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics’ website, opensecrets.org.

In an interview with the Gazette last week, Morse said 100 percent of his contributions are from “actual people.” 

That comment came after Neal’s campaign took a jab at Morse when he announced his fundraising numbers. Neal campaign spokesman Peter Panos said Morse’s totals — which fell below the pace Morse set for his campaign — show that voters are “not confident in his leadership.”

The FEC filings show that Neal made a total of $293,553 in disbursements this period, compared to $94,118 made by Morse. Those disbursements show both campaigns spending most heavily on polling, campaign and media consulting work.

Neal’s disbursements show him spending more than $44,000 during the reporting period on fundraising events in the Washington, D.C., and Boston areas alone, many at high-dollar restaurants. The campaign also spent $27,000 on “fundraising consulting services” from the firm C&G Associates. Morse had one fundraising disbursement: $518 worth of in-kind contributions of beverages.

There is also a Republican running for the seat in a heavily Democratic 1st Congressional District. His fundraising efforts trail his Democratic rivals significantly.

John Cain, a 30-year-old former Navy officer and current business owner from Southwick, raised $1,651 in the quarter, in addition to a $7,750 loan he made to his own campaign.

This story has been updated to reflect that Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has pledged that his campaign will not accept corporate PAC money.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.


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