Five Northeast Philadelphia Democratic ward leaders have endorsed Marjorie Margolies in the primary for the 13th District seat in the U.S. House.
Together, the ward leaders represent about 40 percent of the city’s share of voters in the district, which is split between inner-ring suburbs of Montgomery County and the Northeast. Three of the four Democrats vying for the nomination are based in the suburbs, and grabbing a solid share of support in the city is a strategic imperative for all of them.
Margolies, who held the seat two decades ago, is attempting a comeback in the May 20 primary, facing Dr. Val Arkoosh, state Rep. Brendan Boyle and state Sen. Daylin Leach. Boyle, who represents the 170th state House district, is the only candidate from the city.
Mike McAleer, leader of Ward 66B and chairman of the Northeast Ward Leaders, said he could not support Boyle, who is simultaneously running for re-election to his state House position. “I told him…you can’t serve both, run for one or the other,” McAleer said.
John Sabatina Sr., the leader of the 56th Ward, said that Margolies has the experience to be effective quickly in the seniority-driven House. “We don’t need someone to go down there to learn the ropes, we need someone who can pick up the phone and get things done,” Sabatina said.
Other ward leaders endorsing Margolies are Elaine Tomlin (42nd), Bill Doblow (35th), and Janice Sulman (35th).
An advisor to Boyle said that the ward leaders’ embrace of Margolies will serve to highlight the young state representative’s independence.
Margolies represented PA 13 in the U.S. House for a single term. In 1993, she cast the deciding vote for President Bill Clinton’s economic plan, which included significant tax increases, violating a campaign promise to oppose new taxes. Voters turned her out of office in 1994.
Supporters say that Margolies’ vote was courageous, and note that the Clinton plan helped put the nation on the road to federal budget surpluses and economic expansion.