I first met Brendan Boyle in 2004, when he was knocking on door after door in Northeast Philadelphia, trying to unseat a 20-year incumbent State Representative, Republican George Kenney.
Boyle looked like he was 15 (he was actually 27), but he was earnest and committed. He lost respectably that year, and came right back after Kenney in the next election. The truth is I’m not sure he ever stopped campaigning. He was like a terrier – he never got tired, and looked like he would never quit. Kenney won again, with 54 percent of the vote.
Rather than go through this a third time in the majority-Democratic district, Kenney decided he had other things to do with his life and moved on. Boyle won the seat in 2008, and he’s managed to make something of a name for himself within the party. He’s chaired the state House Democratic Campaign Committee and helped his younger brother Kevin join him in another Northeast Philly legislative seat.
The young man makes his move
Now Boyle is one of four formidable Democrats running for the Congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who’s running for governor. He’s raised over $400,000 so far and has gotten the support of a bunch of labor unions and Philadelphia Democratic City Committee chairman Bob Brady.
Boyle’s not likely to lead the race in fundraising, and won’t have the star support of some, but he has one thing going for him: In a district that’s split between Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County, he’s the only Philadelphia candidate in the race.
Look at his introductory campaign video above, and you can see Boyle’s personal narrative and his pitch: he’s a blue collar kid who got a great education because his hardworking parents gave him a shot, and he’s back to help the community he came from. It clearly casts him as the Philly guy in this race. And ten years later, he actually looks 27 now.
I don’t know if he can pull it off, but this will be an interesting campaign to watch. The Democratic primary for the seat is in May of next year.