Neal leads Morse in fundraising

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

Staff Writer
Published: 4/19/2020 6:40:50 PM

HOLYOKE — Though traditional campaigning has ended completely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the money race in the 1st Congressional District has continued apace.

Quarterly filings with the Federal Election Commission show that U.S. Rep. Richard Neal — the top recipient of corporate money in the U.S. House — now has $4.5 million cash on hand after raising almost $470,000 since Jan. 1. That’s 32 times more money than the $139,718 his Democratic opponent, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, has on hand after raising $178,752 this quarter.

Morse has vowed not to accept money from corporate political action committees, or PACs. Neal, who is chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, took in $270,975 from political committees during the first quarter of this year, most of which came from corporate PACs.

Under FEC rules, PACs are allowed to contribute $5,000 per year to a candidate. Some of those that donated the maximum amount to Neal this cycle include the PACs for: Archer Daniels Midland Co., the global food processing and commodities giant; Capital One Financial Corp.; the financial services company Capital Group; and health care interests such as CVS Health, the insurance company Unum Group and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

The Springfield Democrat also received $5,000 contributions from the PACs of unions such as the International Union of Operating Engineers, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting and Sprinkler Fitting Industry.

However, labor PACs account for only 5% of the PAC money Neal has received this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The industries contributing the most PAC money to Neal this cycle, according to the organization, are: finance, insurance and real estate; health; and energy and natural resources.

All of Morse’s contributions came from individual donors, with the exception of one PAC donation from the liberal grassroots organization Indivisible.

In total, Neal spent $425,000 during the quarter, including a $100,000 transfer to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — the Democratic party committee that works to elect Democrats in the House. Morse spent $159,469 during the quarter.

On April 15, Neal’s campaign submitted 2,180 certified signatures to the secretary of state, ensuring that his name will be on the 2020 ballot. In a press release, the Neal campaign said he collected 4,320 signatures across all five counties in the district.

Morse told the Gazette that he has not yet submitted signatures, but that his campaign already has 2,000 signatures collected and will be on the ballot. He added that his campaign is “close to having a signature from all 87 cities and towns” in the district.

The deadline for submitting signatures is May 5. On April 17, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ordered that the amount of signatures needed to appear on the Sept. 1 primary ballot be reduced by 50%, given the difficulty of collecting signatures during the coronavirus pandemic.

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


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