Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse is reportedly considering a primary challenge against Representative Richard Neal in 2020.
Politico Massachusetts reported Thursday that Morse, 30, is asking potential donors and party activists for their support if he were to mount a challenge against Neal, who was first elected to Congress in 1988.
One Western Mass. political donor, Chia Collins, told the news site that Morse asked for her support for a possible congressional run at a late June fund-raiser for Attorney General Maura Healey.
Morse made history when he was elected at the age of 22 in 2011, making him the youngest and first openly gay mayor of the city. If he runs, his campaign would continue a trend of young, progressive candidates challenging more established Democrats — a hallmark of the 2018 midterm elections.
In the wake of now-Representative Ayanna Pressley’s successful 2018 primary challenge against Michael E. Capuano, a 10-term incumbent, one Democrat has already announced she will challenge Senator Edward J. Markey — and another is considering a campaign.
Neal, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee, has faced outside pressure from a group pushing for impeachment of President Trump. Tom Steyer, who recently announced a run for the Democratic nomination for president, bought television and billboard ads earlier this year in Western Mass. in an effort to push Neal to sue for Trump’s tax returns, which Neal did last month.
Neal last won reelection in 2018 after soundly defeating primary challenger Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.
In a statement, a spokesman for Neal said he is focused on his work in the House.
“With Donald Trump trying to turn back the clock on so much we’ve accomplished, Congressman Neal is focused on leading the fight for fairer taxes, affordable and accessible health care and preserving Social Security and Medicare,” said Peter Panos, a Neal spokesman. “Congressman Neal looks forward to continued engagement with voters about the work he is doing to improve the lives of working families.”