Boyle excited for new campaign role

State Rep. Brendan Boyle is really look­ing for­ward to his new gig as chair­man of the House Demo­crat­ic Cam­paign Com­mit­tee.

“I really love and en­joy cam­paigns,” he said.

Boyle (D-170th dist.) suc­ceeds Rep. Mike Ger­ber, of Mont­gomery County. Re­pub­lic­ans swept to power in the Pennsylvania House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives last year, win­ning 13 seats to take a com­mand­ing 112-91 ad­vant­age.

Boyle lost two races to Re­pub­lic­an Rep. George Ken­ney in 2004 and ’06 be­fore cap­tur­ing the seat in ’08 when Ken­ney re­tired. He was re-elec­ted last year.

In 2010, he also helped his young­er broth­er, Kev­in, oust former Speak­er John Perzel in the 172nd dis­trict.

The law­maker teaches cam­paign man­age­ment to gradu­ate stu­dents at Drexel Uni­versity’s Cen­ter for Pub­lic Policy.

Look­ing ahead to his new as­sign­ment, Boyle is ex­cited but ac­know­ledges he’ll be mak­ing a big time com­mit­ment.

As he tries to re­cruit can­did­ates to chal­lenge Re­pub­lic­an in­cum­bents, Boyle ex­pects to be able to of­fer good coun­sel, based on his two runs against Ken­ney.

One chal­lenge will be ask­ing can­did­ates to run in dis­tricts where the bound­ar­ies have not been fi­nal­ized. The GOP-con­trolled le­gis­lature is ex­pec­ted to settle on new maps by late fall. In re­cent years, dozens of le­gis­lat­ors have run un­op­posed. Boyle is vow­ing to make more Re­pub­lic­ans work to hold their seats.

“One of my ma­jor goals is to have as many can­did­ates as pos­sible, ideally in every dis­trict,” he said.

Loc­ally, Boyle is eye­ing seats held by Re­pub­lic­an Reps. John Taylor and Den­nis O’Bri­en. Taylor’s new dis­trict might move north to take in some of the 55th Ward di­vi­sions in May­fair formerly rep­res­en­ted by Perzel.

“It will still be a ma­jor­ity Demo­crat­ic seat,” Boyle said.

O’Bri­en is run­ning for an at-large City Coun­cil seat. If he is elec­ted in Novem­ber, he’ll prob­ably resign from the House in early Janu­ary, set­ting up a spe­cial elec­tion, along with the reg­u­larly sched­uled elec­tion. The dis­trict might move south to in­clude 64th Ward di­vi­sions once rep­res­en­ted by Perzel.

“Any way you draw it, it won’t change the fact that it is a Demo­crat­ic-lean­ing dis­trict,” Boyle said, “but it won’t be a slam dunk.”

A pos­sible Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for O’Bri­en’s 169th dis­trict seat is Dave Kralle, an O’Bri­en aide.

An­oth­er pos­sible con­tender is Tim Ger­ard, an aide to City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill.

On the Demo­crat­ic side, a likely can­did­ate is Ed Neilson, dir­ect­or of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment for a Cen­ter City law firm. He’s a former of­fi­cial with In­ter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tric­al Work­ers Loc­al 98 and formerly served in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of ex-Gov. Ed Rendell.

Demo­crats have cour­ted John McNesby, pres­id­ent of Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5. McNesby did quash one ru­mor. He will not chal­lenge state Sen. Mike Stack.

An­oth­er pos­sible can­did­ate is Shawn Dillon, a long­time em­ploy­ee of the state aud­it­or gen­er­al’s of­fice and Demo­crat­ic lead­er of Ward 66-A. ••

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