PITTSFIELD — Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse pocketed endorsements from five more Pittsfield city councilors in the race for the 1st Congressional District and now has the backing of a majority of councilors in Berkshire County's largest city.

Morse's campaign this week rolled out news of endorsements by City Council President Peter Marchetti, Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon, At-Large Councilor Earl Persip III, At-Large Councilor Pete White and Ward 7 City Councilor Anthony Maffuccio.

Morse is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, in a Sept. 1 primary, hoping to claim the congressional seat Neal has held for more than three decades.

Marchetti said in a statement that he has been impressed with Morse's campaign, saying the mayor "has made it abundantly clear that he understands the challenges we face in Pittsfield such as homelessness, addiction, and long-term economic recovery. We had a great conversation about Holyoke's Community Drop-in Center, and it's that type of local action, with federal support, that will really help our city."

"I am proud to endorse Alex Morse for Congress," Marchetti said.

Maffuccio tossed a sharper barb at the incumbent, saying in a statement: "Richie Neal thinks the 1st District stops at the border of Springfield. Alex Morse knows Pittsfield, he knows the Berkshires, he knows Franklin County; this is who we need in Congress representing us."

Persip also said Morse has been more accessible than Neal, adding, "I've had more conversations with Alex Morse in our community in the past year then I've ever had with Congressman Neal or members of his staff."

Moon pointed to Morse's record as Holyoke mayor over the past nine years, during which time he has been "opening up the doors of Holyoke City Hall and using his voice to empower and unite others."

"We need a lot more of that in Washington, and I'm proud to back him in his bid for Congress," she said.

White, too, drew on face-to-face conversations he has had with Morse in explaining his support.

"I have seen him and spoken with him at numerous events in Pittsfield over the course of the campaign. I believe these connections will make him effective in bringing our concerns to Washington, D.C," White said.

Morse now has the backing of eight of the city's 11 councilors. Councilors Patrick Kavey, Dina Guiel Lampiasi and Yuki Cohen already had endorsed Morse in the Democratic primary.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com, on Twitter @amandaburkec and 413-496-6296.