State Rep. Brendan Boyle last week held his first major fundraiser in his campaign for the 13th Congressional District seat.
The seat is open because U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
So far, three Democrats have entered the race. Besides Boyle, the others are state Sen. Daylin Leach and Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, a health-care reform advocate.
Another likely candidate is former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies.
“I feel very good about the field,” Boyle said during the May 22 fundraiser at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5’s headquarters in the Far Northeast.
Boyle, of Somerton, should feel good. He’s the only Northeast candidate in the race. Leach and Arkoosh live in Montgomery County.
On the surface, Boyle would appear to gain even more strength if Margolies, another Montgomery County resident, jumps in the race.
However, Margolies could prove to be a formidable candidate. In 1993, she cast the deciding vote for President Bill Clinton’s budget, which Republicans criticized for its tax hikes. Her son, Marc, married Chelsea Clinton in 2010.
Ken Smukler, senior adviser for Margolies, said she has received encouragement to run and that she will continue to discuss her options. In the past, she has said she’d make a decision by the end of May.
“She fully intends to do that,” he said.
As for Boyle, he is looking to move up after five years in the state House of Representatives. He had previously worked in the private sector.
“I believe in government service and public service,” he said.
The fundraiser attracted about 100 people, including Boyle’s wife, parents and younger brother Kevin, also a state representative. State Sen. Mike Stack and City Controller Alan Butkovitz were in attendance.
Mike McAleer, the newly elected head of the Northeast Ward Leaders, was on hand, along with fellow ward leaders Dan Savage, Janice Sulman, Bob Dellavella, Pat Parkinson and Shawn Dillon.
Boyle, who has a lot of union support, believes he will need $1.2 million to $1.5 million to win the nomination. He also plans an intense grassroots campaign.
“Those are two important ingredients in our plan,” he said.
Boyle likes having a base in the Northeast. The city and suburban portions of the district are split fairly evenly. Still, he’ll try to make inroads in Montgomery County.
“I don’t concede any area of the district,” he said.
Will Boyle give up his state House seat or run for both jobs at the same time?
“I haven’t made that decision yet,” he said, adding he will go door to door in the summer to see how his constituents feel.
Allyson Schwartz criticized Gov. Tom Corbett for remarks he made in an interview with Al Dia, a Spanish newspaper, at the Union League.
In response to a question, Corbett said he has no Latino staff members, adding, “If you can find us one, please let me know.” He then looked toward the crowd and asked, “Do any of you want to come to Harrisburg?” When he did not get a response, he said, “See,” and the crowd laughed.
“To lead our state toward a prosperous economy, a governor must recognize and leverage our greatest asset: the people of Pennsylvania,” Schwartz said. “And a governor’s administration must set the tone by reflecting our diversity with talented, skilled men and women of all backgrounds. Making excuses isn’t leadership. Sadly, this kind of excuse is what we’ve come to expect from Gov. Corbett, and yet again, makes clear why we need a change in Harrisburg.”
Corbett’s spokesman, Kevin Harley, released a statement saying the governor was referring to his immediate staff when responding that he has no Latinos.
Harley noted that Dr. Eli Avila, a Hispanic, served as secretary of the Department of Health. The governor nominated Ken Trujillo as commissioner for the Liquor Control Board, but Senate Democrats blocked the nomination.
Corbett also has a 25-member Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs.
“He is 100 percent supportive of Latino-Hispanic leadership and is very interested in keeping an open pipeline with increasing the number of Latino-Hispanics who serve in state government at all levels,” said Maria Montero, director of the commission. “There are nearly 1,500 Latino-Hispanics working in the Corbett administration.”
Meanwhile, Schwartz has picked up endorsements from United Steelworkers Local 10-1 and EMILY’s List, a group that backs Democratic women who support abortion.
Schwartz worked with the union when Sunoco and Conoco Phillips threatened refinery closures in Philadelphia and Delaware County.
“When faced with the possibility of a devastating plant closure, Congresswoman Schwartz immediately went to work on our behalf without waiting to be asked,” said Jim Savage, the union president. “We appreciate her efforts and we know that all Pennsylvania working families will benefit from her leadership, which we experienced first-hand.”
EMILY’s List cited Schwartz’s experience fighting for women and protecting access to health care.
“The EMILY’s List community — now 2 million members from coast to coast — has been supporting Allyson for more than a decade, and we’re thrilled to be a part of her campaign to become Pennsylvania’s first woman governor,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of the group.
Other Democratic candidates are Tom Wolf, a York County businessman and former secretary of the state Department of Revenue; Max Myers, a pastor, businessman and author from Cumberland County; Katie McGinty, a Rhawnhurst native who served as secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection; and John Hanger, a former DEP secretary.
Other possible candidates include state Sen. Mike Stack, state Treasurer Rob McCord and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. ••