In A Lengthy Political Career, Rep. Richard Neal Has Had Few Close Calls
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield is seeing a stiff challenge from Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse in the Democratic race for the 1st Congressional District in Massachusetts. And Neal hasn't had to deal with many close races during his political career.
Neal first ran for the House in 1988. In Congress, he's only been challenged in primaries five times, and Neal won all those contests with an average of about two-thirds of the vote. He's been unopposed 11 times.
In just six contested general elections, none of Neal's opponents finished within a single-digit margin. In those races, his average percentage of the vote is also near the two-thirds mark.
Before entering the U.S. House, Neal served as Springfield's mayor, where he also saw strong support at the ballot box. He won three general elections for mayor, with an average of 82% of the vote.
The last time Neal didn't place first was the 1977 Springfield City Council general election, when he finished in third place. That result was still good enough to earn a spot on the council, as all of the positions were at-large and voters were able to choose more than one candidate.
He earned the most votes in general elections in 1979 and 1981, as well as 1981 City Council primary.
As for Morse, his sample size is much smaller, but he's been involved in some close races since first running for Holyoke mayor in 2011.
Morse has won four general elections with an average of about 54% of the vote. In his last contest — in 2017 — Morse won reelection with almost 58%, the largest win of his career.