Freshman state Rep. Kevin Boyle was re-nominated during last week’s primary, an election he had predicted he would win by a “very healthy majority” despite opposition from some ward leaders. He defeated challenger Dan Collins by almost 2 to 1.
Boyle, a Democrat who represents the 172nd Legislative District, will meet Republican Al Taubenberger in the November general election. The well-known Taubenberger, who is president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, had no challengers in the GOP primary.
The district, which cuts across the center of Northeast Philly, had long been represented by Republican John Perzel, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges last year and was sentenced a month ago to two-and-a-half to five years in prison. Boyle had defeated Perzel at the polls in 2010, ending the incumbent’s more than 30 years in the state House as his legal woes intensified.
Last week, on the April 24 election night, Boyle said he was disappointed by the light turnout of fewer than 4,000 in a district of about 37,000 registered voters.
ldquo;Turnout was anemic,” he said, adding that he expected the fall presidential contest to bring out the electorate. “It’s expected to be a billion-dollar campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. So people will come out in a presidential-year election.”
Boyle said he had been confident of victory, based on direct appeals to voters by going door to door, along with the breadth of services that Boyle said he and his staff have provided to constituents.
Those constituents, he said, are concerned about quality-of-life issues — general neighborhood decline, crime and poor property maintenance by out-of-town landlords.
“Everything gets back to the same issue. People want to make sure that their part of Northeast Philadelphia, the parts that I represent — Mayfair, Tacony, Holmesburg, Fox Chase, Bustleton — that they see strong, vibrant, blue-collar middle-class neighborhoods. They don’t want to see the continued spread of blight in Northeast Philadelphia,” Boyle said.
The lawmaker, who lives in Fox Chase, thanked his staff as he spoke to the election-night crowd of supporters gathered in the Hop Angel Brauhaus on Oxford Avenue. “They have given me a positive reputation in the community,” he said.
“I am especially appreciative of the committee people of the sixty-third ward who went against their ward leader today,” Boyle said.
The leader of the 63rd, Bernice Hill, supported Collins, as did John Sabatina of the 56th Ward and Pat Parkinson of the 57th.
Even though Hill supported his opponent, Boyle received more than 72 percent of the vote in the 63rd.
Boyle had the backing of 55th Ward leader Bob Dellavella; Mike Stack in the 58th; Lorri Bednarek in the 64th; and Mike McAleer in 66-B.
Collins, a Mayfair resident and teacher at the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Lawndale, survived challenges to his nominating petitions by Boyle supporter Terry Devlin this year and in 2010. Collins, a CYO coach and member of the Mayfair Civic Association and the Mayfair Town Watch, opposed state cuts in public-education spending and favored state grants to target Philadelphia issues like illegal guns and to help Town Watch groups.
The challenger claimed that Boyle had taken credit for the community opposition to a planned methadone clinic in Holmesburg. The neighborhood took the initiative for that opposition, Collins said during the campaign, and he also rapped Boyle for his involvement in issues that Collins said should be the province of city officials, not state legislators.
Before the election, Boyle had said he would continue working on city issues if he felt he could have an impact that would benefit residents. ••
Vote in the 172nd Legislative District Democratic primary
Ward Collins Boyle
55 467 795
56 26 27
57 130 194
58 42 154
63 236 672
64 386 619
66 4 15
Overall 1,291 2,476EndFragment EndFragment