At least two leaders within the College Democrats of Massachusetts have reportedly resigned after leaked documents revealed the students’ attempts to thwart the campaign of Mayor Alex Morse (D), who is challenging Rep. Richard Neal (D) in the state’s First Congressional District primary race.
College Democrats had written a letter to Morse, which first surfaced August 7 via the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst’s student newspaper, banning the small-town Holyoke mayor from future events because of his “inappropriate sexual relations” with college students.
This put a national spotlight on Morse’s grassroots campaign, which has been endorsed by progressives such as the Justice Democrats and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who are eager to oust Neal, a four-decade incumbent and close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
After the allegations against Morse surfaced, The Intercept published communication it had obtained from as far back as October 2019 indicating students’ intentions to exploit Morse’s dating habits for the purpose of advancing Neal’s campaign.
The Intercept’s D.C. Bureau Chief Ryan Grim wrote Friday of the resignations of the students:
The rest of the leadership has also sent a private statement to its members apologizing for unintentionally playing into homophobic tropes w/o the knowledge of coordination at the top or that the letter would be leaked. They wish Morse and his campaign well.
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) August 29, 2020
Then-president and later chief strategist of the UMass Amherst College Democrats, Timothy Ennis — who has reportedly resigned — had expressed last October that he felt conflicted about attacking Morse’s campaign but had said, “But I need a job,” and, “Neal will give me an internship.”
President of the UMass Amherst College Democrats, Andrew Abramson — who has also reportedly resigned — had exchanged leaked Instagram messages with Morse last October and shared them with friends. “Like read that message,” Abramson wrote to his friends of the exchange between him and Morse. “Also don’t mind me totally leading him on.”
The Intercept reported College Democrats President Hayley Fleming was another student who also planned to resign. Fleming had communicated with Massachusetts’ state party leadership about the misconduct allegations against Morse prior to them becoming public. The involvement of the Democrat Party at the state level has raised a separate set of concerns for its role in privately helping the College Democrats to launch their allegations against Morse.
The students who reportedly resigned did not respond to Breitbart News or could not be reached for comment.
Neal has claimed his campaign had no prior knowledge of the students’ allegations.
The UMass Amherst College Democrats’ executive board published a letter to its membership Saturday apologizing and admitting members had “agreed to sign on [to the letter to Morse] in good faith, believing it necessary for the well-being of our members based on what we’d been told.”
The current UMass Amherst Democrats eboard released a statement to our membership last night, holding ourselves accountable for the events of the past couple weeks. Read it below: pic.twitter.com/ZGUiEXdkfb
— UMass Democrats (@UMassDems) August 29, 2020
They also added that the letter to Morse, who is gay, contained “careless” wording that “unwittingly playing into homophobic stereotypes.”
The intention to damage Morse’s campaign appears to have had the reverse effect, as the mayor saw record-breaking fundraising following the allegations, hundreds turn out to volunteer for his campaign, and polling data showing Morse, once thought to be a long-shot candidate, moving within striking distance of Neal.