SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Congressman Richard Neal has beaten back a challenge by two members of his own party, and now has no official opposition to represent the 1st Congressional District in Washington next year.
With 97% of Precincts reporting, Neal had about 65% of the vote, easily defeating former State Senator Andrea Nuciforo of Pittsfield and political activist Bill Shein of Alford.
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The longtime congressman is declaring victory at a celebration in front of supporters at the Community Music School in downtown Springfield.
"Sometime's you win and sometimes you win!" Neal told supporters.
The new district was created following the 2010 Census, which cost Massachusetts a seat in Congress. It includes all of Berkshire and Hampden Counties, plus western portions of Hampshire and Franklin Counties, and southwestern Worcester County.
A former mayor of Springfield, Neal was first elected to Congress in 1988, and represented the state's 2nd Congressional District, which until redistricting stretched along the Connecticut and Rhode Island state lines from Agawam to Bellingham in Norfolk County.
Neal is a member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee, and is also considered a "surrogate" for President Barack Obama; meaning he makes appearances on the President's behalf to campaign for his re election.
Among several speakers at Neal's celebration was Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi, who welcomed the city's new congressman.
Congressman John Olver (D-Amherst) previously served that area, but chose not to seek re-election.
There is no Republican or third-party opponent on the ballot in November.