State rep. skips forum to attend workers’ rally

When three of the four Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates for Pennsylvania’s 13th Con­gres­sion­al seat were pre­par­ing for their im­min­ent de­bate on April 29, Brendan Boyle and about 50 of his sup­port­ers were don­ning rain gear.

They planned to go door-to-door in North­east Philly’s 56th Ward rather than par­ti­cip­ate in a for­um or­gan­ized by someone who had en­dorsed one of Boyle’s op­pon­ents four weeks earli­er. Demo­crat­ic ward lead­er John Sabat­ina is back­ing Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies, a former one-term con­gress­wo­man, in the race. Ac­cord­ing to the Boyle cam­paign, he is also on Mar­gol­ies’ cam­paign payroll.

North­east Times ed­it­or Tom War­ing mod­er­ated the for­um at the Por­tuguese Club in Rhawn­hurst, but Boyle sug­ges­ted in a prin­ted state­ment that the format of the de­bate — al­low­ing the can­did­ates to use note­cards and bar­ring audi­ence ques­tions — favored Mar­gol­ies. Then dur­ing a rally for vo­lun­teers at an elec­tri­cians’ uni­on of­fice in Bell’s Corner, Boyle re­ferred to the for­um as “a fake de­bate.”

“We’re not go­ing to show up for something that one of the oth­er cam­paigns has or­gan­ized,” said Boyle, a three-term state rep­res­ent­at­ive from Somer­ton. “So we said, in­stead, let’s send a mes­sage about what we’ve been do­ing ever since Ju­ly 9, 2013. And that is go­ing out in our com­munity and knock­ing on every single door.”

Boyle claimed that his work­ers have vis­ited more than 50,000 homes in the last 10 months. He vowed to can­vass every di­vi­sion in the 56th Ward.

“I’m proud of the fact that we’ve done more door-to-door and held more dir­ect voter events than all three of my op­pon­ents com­bined,” he said, be­fore not­ing that he is the lone Phil­adelphia res­id­ent in the Demo­crat­ic primary.

In ad­di­tion to Mar­gol­ies, state Sen. Daylin Leach and Dr. Val Arkoosh also live in Mont­gomery County. The 13th dis­trict is split al­most evenly between North­east Philly and East­ern Montco.

“This race isn’t about just someone who comes in at cam­paign time,” Boyle said. “It’s about who’s go­ing to be here the rest of the time work­ing for our com­munity, work­ing for fam­il­ies that really need rep­res­ent­a­tion in Wash­ing­ton and just aren’t get­ting it.”

Boyle’s cam­paign billed the event as a “work­ers’ rally” and chose IBEW Loc­al 98 Busi­ness Agent Bobby Gorm­ley to in­tro­duce the can­did­ate.

“It’s about help­ing the little people, help­ing the work­ing-class people. That’s what it’s all about, work­ing-class fam­il­ies, people that need help. And this guy has been there for years,” Gorm­ley said. “At a young age, he’s made a dif­fer­ence in the lives of thou­sands of people, hun­dreds of thou­sands of people. And he’s go­ing to do that again. He’s mov­ing to the next level.”

In as­sess­ing oth­er can­did­ates, Gorm­ley called Leach “a good guy, but he’s a mil­lion­aire. He just doesn’t get it. [Boyle] gets what it means to work.”

“Then you have oth­er people in the race: Mar­gol­ies — are you kid­ding me?” Gorm­ley said, eli­cit­ing a round of snick­ers from the group. “Really? Some­body has to wake her up to pull her strings.”

Lead­ing up to the May 20 primary, Boyle said he would con­tin­ue to fo­cus on the same is­sues he began the race with, par­tic­u­larly the grow­ing dis­par­ity between the rich and work­ing-class people. He also plans to par­ti­cip­ate in a can­did­ates’ for­um on May 14 hos­ted by Up­per Mo­re­land Demo­crats.

“I’ve talked about what a dis­grace it is that right now in our coun­try, the gap between the wealth­i­est one per­cent and the oth­er 99 per­cent of us is great­er today than at any point in our na­tion’s his­tory,” he said. “I’ve talked about the fact that it’s down­right wrong that the av­er­age middle-class fam­ily ac­tu­ally has less in­come today than ten years ago.” ••

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