The Democratic ward leaders are divided in the 172nd Legislative District.
John Sabatina (56th), Pat Parkinson (57th) and Bernice Hill (63rd) want to fire incumbent Rep. Kevin Boyle and replace him with Dan Collins.
Boyle claims the support of Bob Dellavella (55th), Mike Stack (58th), Lorri Bednarek (64th) and Mike McAleer (66-B).
The incumbent is seeking his second term.
In 2010, he defeated Collins and Tim Kearney in the primary, then went on to beat 32-year Republican Rep. John Perzel in the general election. Perzel was facing corruption charges at the time.
Even that year, Boyle did not have close ties to all of the ward leaders.
Still, Boyle predicts he’ll win by a “very healthy majority.” He’ll have at least six mailings and thinks he’ll benefit from greater name recognition.
“I’m running on my record of the last fifteen months,” he said.
Collins and his campaign team are more seasoned than in 2010 and feel better about being part of a two-man race.
“I’ve been working real hard the last three months and am getting great support in the community,” he said.
The rematch almost never happened.
When the Legislative Reapportionment Commission passed preliminary and final maps in late 2011, Collins’ division in the 64th Ward in Mayfair was not part of the 172nd.
On Jan. 25, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the final map on constitutional grounds, and Collins entered the race.
The commission passed a new plan last week.
If Collins wins the primary and goes on to capture the general election — Al Taubenberger is the Republican candidate — he’d have to move to run for another term in the 172nd. The 64th Ward, 8th Division, will now be part of the 177th district, represented by Republican John Taylor.
In 2010 and again this year, Collins survived challenges to his nominating petitions by a Boyle supporter, Terry Devlin.
Collins blames Boyle for disenfranchising Mayfair, which will be split into two districts, as Boyle’s district extends into Montgomery County.
Boyle, who is married and lives in Fox Chase, said it was Taylor who drew his district by taking much of the 55th and 64th wards in Mayfair. He also noted that Collins lives in the same division where his district office is located, and that he was hoping to be able to keep the office within the district boundaries.
“Mr. Collins clearly does not understand the process,” Boyle said.
Besides gaining the backing of three ward leaders, Collins has been endorsed by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, District Council 21, Teamsters 830, the Communications Workers of America, the Gas Workers and the International Longshoremen’s Association.
Boyle has the backing of the AFL-CIO, District Council 33, District Council 47, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, Sprinkler Fitters 692, Plumbers 690, Steam Fitters 420, Bricklayers 1, Boilermakers 13, Roofers 30, Operating Engineers 542, Ironworkers 401, Elevator Constructors 5 and Sheet Metal Workers 19.
The incumbent will have campaign workers in divisions in wards backing Collins.
“We’ll have Boyle people at every poll,” he said.
Boyle lists as his accomplishments fighting to keep a methadone clinic out of Mayfair, holding a hearing about negligent property owners, lobbying the city to start a blight court and working to preserve the Devon Theater and Mayfair Community Center.
“I have a proven record of service in fifteen months. I hit the ground running,” he said.
Collins faults Boyle in two areas. The challenger believes his opponent is taking too much credit for opposing the methadone clinic.
“The neighborhood fought the methadone clinic,” said Collins, adding that the clinic’s proposed location will no longer be in the 172nd after reapportionment.
Collins also believes Boyle is addressing matters better left to City Council, perhaps to mask a thin legislative record.
Boyle said the methadone clinic would need state approval and that he plans to call for a statewide registry of negligent property owners.
“I don’t think he understands the role of state representative in Northeast Philadelphia,” Boyle said of Collins.
Boyle plans to continue weighing in on city issues, if he believes he can make a difference.
“I’m unapologetic about that,” he said.
Collins, who is married with two young daughters, is an eighth-grade math and social studies teacher at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Lawndale. He has coached CYO basketball at St. Matthew for 17 years and is a member of the Mayfair Civic Association and Mayfair Town Watch.
On Saturday, Collins scored a bit of a coup when he was chosen to throw out the first pitch at opening day for the Holy Terrors Youth Organization, which consists of 700 boys and girls on 50 teams. He later took part in a few neighborhood cleanups.
If elected, Collins will promote community-oriented policing. He’s a fan of the state “Police on Patrol” program. He’d like to see grant money targeted for Philadelphia to handle issues ranging from illegal guns to tire-slashing, with a portion directed to local Town Watch groups.
Collins favors additional funding for education so schools can have small class sizes, an appropriate number of teachers, a nurse and school police presence, if necessary. Some schools need personnel that can handle language issues with young people new to the United States, he said.
There are some good charter schools, Collins said, but he wants the others to be held to the same standards.
One way to fund those public safety and education initiatives, according to Collins, is to earmark tax revenue from Marcellus Shale drilling.
On the campaign trail, Collins has wooed committee people and targeted likely Democratic primary voters at their doors.
“I’ve been in every division,” he said.
Collins believes his message is resonating with voters.“They realize I’m the better choice to return pride and stability to their neighborhoods,” he said. ••EndFragment