Neal-Morse campaign arguments sound familiar

In 2018, Ayanna Pressley stormed to a Democratic primary victory over US Rep. Michael Capuano with the battle cry that change can’t wait.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse is now trying to rally voters with a similar message in his race to unseat US Rep. Richard Neal, and many of the same arguments that played out in the Pressley-Capuano campaign are being rehashed again on the news and editorial pages of the state’s western Massachusetts newspapers.

Capuano had significant seniority in Congress and was skilled in securing funds for his district, but the Democrats at the time of the 2018 primary hadn’t yet taken control of the House – Capuano’s power was theoretical. Now Nancy Pelosi is speaker, and Neal is at the helm of the Ways and Means Committee, the fulcrum of power in Washington.

Gov. Charlie Baker, a self-described “practical and pragmatic Republican,” endorsed Neal on Thursday because of what the congressman can deliver for Massachusetts. Many of the Democrats who backed Pressley in 2018, as well as Pressley herself, have remained on the sidelines in the Neal-Morse fight, most likely for similar reasons.

Neal’s ability to deliver for his congressional district is what guided the editorial pages of the Berkshire Eagle of Pittsfield and The Republican of Springfield.

“When an incumbent has the kind of power to bring home the bacon to a constituency like Rep. Neal does, the burden of proof falls to the challenger to show why a district should discard such an advantage in high places,” said the Berkshire Eagle editorial. “Mayor Morse, riding a nascent wave of progressive energy that has shaped other House races, has mounted a formidable primary campaign that has tested a longtime incumbent. But if Rep. Neal is anything, he is indeed tested, and his proven leadership, legislative chops and chairman’s seats give the Berkshires a powerful representative in the highest halls of government.”

Similarly, The Republican wanted no part of a newcomer spouting idealism and talk of change.

“Now is not a time for rhetoric to rule, but rather reality,” the newspaper said in its editorial endorsing Neal. “As the Democratic Party has increasingly produced voices that may not be open to alternative points of view, Neal offers a more moderate tone, willing to listen and consider all perspectives. As Congress has often of late toiled to move past gridlock and iron out differences, Neal represents a voice of reason and respect.”

The Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton came at the race from a different perspective. “Who is the candidate most likely to bring change to Washington?” the newspaper asked in its editorial. 

“Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter, a financial crisis, broken health care and criminal justice systems, and corruption at the highest levels of government are threatening our very survival as a nation and giving urgency to the current moment — one that must usher in structural and systemic change,” the editorial said. “This Tuesday, we urge residents of the 1st Congressional District to vote not just for a man but for a movement. Western Mass. is ready to send a message to the capital that we’re done with the status quo — and only one of these candidates can deliver it.”

BRUCE MOHL

 

FROM COMMONWEALTH

Gov. Charlie Baker, a self-described “practical and pragmatic Republican,” continues his push for Democrats by personally endorsing US Rep. Richard Neal and via super PAC donations to a series of Democrats running for the House, Senate, and Governor’s Council.

Chelsea’s already bad COVID-19 situation worsens. Same happening in Lawrence — what will Mayor Dan Rivera decide? Somerville and Swampscott move into the yellow zone.

Attorney General Maura Healey sues Trump administration on regulations barring immigrant students from receiving CARES Act funding.

Opinion: Safe havens are the key to fighting COVID-19, say Lou-Ann Bruno Murtha and Assaad Sayah of Cambridge Health Alliance and Kirby Erlandson, a Harvard MD-MBA graduate student….Merrie Najimy and Max Page of the Massachusetts Teachers Association worry that the state’s public higher ed system is responding to the pandemic with devastating spending cuts and cutbacks.

FROM AROUND THE WEB             

 

BEACON HILL

At a Department of Revenue hearing, New Hampshire residents and officials slam a rule requiring them to pay Massachusetts income taxes if they are working remotely for a Bay State company. (Eagle-Tribune)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Authorities issued $1,500 in citations in response to a 200-person party held in Milford. (MassLive)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

A new report shows big disparities in the impact of COVID-19 on black and Hispanic residents in Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)

Racism may be as deadly as COVID-19, according to an analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (NPR)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Milwaukee Bucks players’ decision to boycott their Wednesday playoff game against the Orlando Magic to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin has created a ripple effect through sports programs across New England. (WGBH)

Black Lives Matter activists are holding their first Black National Convention Friday, a virtual event that will adopt a political agenda calling for slavery reparations, universal basic income, environmental justice and legislation that entirely re-imagines criminal justice reform. (Associated Press)

ELECTIONS

President Trump formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination and painted the election as a choice between law and order and anarchy. (Washington Post) He also claimed accomplishments he didn’t earn on the pandemic, energy, and veterans. (Associated Press)

The Boston Herald endorses Kevin O’Connor in the low-profile Republican primary for US Senate. The right-leaning editorial page can’t seem to bring itself to make a call in the marquee race — the Democratic primary for the seat — calling Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy “the Coke and Pepsi,” slightly different formulas that at the end of the day are each still “a can of soda.”

The Salem News profiles Rep. Seth Moulton, who faces two challengers in next week’s Democratic primary.

Globe editorial writer Marcela Garcia says voters should give the nod to one of the two black women running in the three-way Democratic primary to succeed state Rep. Dan Cullinane of Dorchester, who is giving up his seat.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The state gambling commission slapped a warning on Encore Boston Harbor over a huge party that was held in the casino’s hotel recently in violation of state coronavirus guidelines. (Boston Globe)

Aid for the state’s lobster industry will now come from a pool of coronavirus-related funds, not a standalone program as originally expected, prompting concerns from lobstermen about having to compete for the help. (Gloucester Daily Times)

EDUCATION

UMass Amherst puts 850 workers on indefinite furloughs. (State House News)

State education commissioner Jeff Riley says schools need even more federal aid than has already flowed to deal with effects of the pandemic. (Boston Herald)

The Standard-Times profiles a young Brazilian immigrant who faced diabetes and poverty before being accepted to Harvard University.

ARTS/CULTURE

A Godspell production in Pittsfield adds two weeks to run. (Berkshire Eagle)

A Holliston mom releases a book featuring a female to male transgender character. She wrote it for her child, who is making the same shift in elementary school. (MetroWest Daily News)

TRANSPORTATION

New bus lanes are coming to a stretch of Columbus Avenue in Boston, but bicyclists aren’t happy with the layout for them. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Police body camera footage of the police killing of a man near the Chestnut Hill shopping area following a high-speed chase appears to contradict a key claim of the Norfolk district attorney, who ruled the shooting justified. (Boston Globe)