In a win for the pro-Israel community, incumbent Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) won against progressive challenger Alex Morse in the Democratic primary on Tuesday in Massachusetts’s 1st Congressional District.
Neal, chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, received 58.9 percent of the vote, while Morse got 41.1 percent.
Morse, 31, who is Jewish, was endorsed by anti-Israel groups such as IfNotNow and Justice Democrats, as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who upended the U.S. political world in 2018 by unseating longtime Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Morse faced allegations of improper consensual relationships with students when he was an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Despite both supporting the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from in May 2018, and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the candidates differed on issues related to the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Morse expressed support for conditioning U.S. assistance to Israel and, while he does not support the anti-Israel BDS movement, he is against legislation to combat it, whereas Neal was one of 292 co-sponsors of the 2017 Israeli Anti-Boycott Act, which would have allowed state and local governments the right to punish state or local contractors from engaging in boycotting Israel.
In statements, Democratic Majority for Israel’s political action committee and Pro-Israel America, both of which endorsed Neal, congratulated the congressman, who has been in office since 1989.
“Chairman Neal earned our support in this race by consistently advocating for Democratic values, including support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” said DMFI PAC.
“During his 16 terms in Congress, Rep. Neal has been a steadfast supporter of America’s important relationship with Israel,” said Pro-Israel America’s executive director Jeff Mendelsohn. “We are happy to see that he soundly defeated an opponent who had aligned himself with some of the most vocal detractors of the U.S.-Israel alliance in Congress and beyond.”
With no Republican opponent, Neal is all but guaranteed to be re-elected in the Nov. 3 election.