Neal and Morse

U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, left, and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse spent a total of $8 million on their primary battle. 

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The primary battle in the state’s 1st Congressional District cost $8 million, nearly three-quarters of which was spent by the successful incumbent, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield. 

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that new campaign finance reports show that Neal and his challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, were neck-and-neck on fundraising in the last reporting period. But with a larger campaign fund, Neal was able over the course of the campaign to outspend Morse by more than two to one. 

According to reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, Morse raised $869,346 from Aug. 13 through Sept. 30 and spent $1,087,255. The incumbent raised $875,730 and spent $1,395,592.

While his outlays left Morse with a balance of $78,814, Neal came away from the fight with $2,238,749 still in the bank.

Neal beat Morse by a margin of 58.8 to 41.2, drawing 83,437 votes to Morse’s 58,390. In Berkshire County, Morse lost Pittsfield by the same margin. He gathered more votes than Neal only in the south county towns of Great Barrington (1,111-971), Mount Washington (45-22), Otis (183-162), Sandisfield (104-90) and Sheffield (435-378).

Morse’s campaign said the mayor’s fundraising efforts soared as the Sept. 1 primary neared because he had been the target of a smear orchestrated by members of the Democratic Party organization at the University of Massachusetts. 

Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, holds the distinction of being the recipient of the most donations from corporate political action committees of any member of the U.S. House. 

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass, investigations editor, joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and CommonWealth Magazine.


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