State Rep. Brendan Boyle survives mysterious ballot challenge

State Rep. Brendan Boyle will remain on the May 20 Democratic primary ballot. (File photo)

State Rep. Brendan Boyle today survived a ballot challenge that raised more questions than it answered in state Commonwealth Court.

Larry Otter, an attorney very active in campaign-related legal actions, last week filed the challenge to Boyle's nomination petitions for his re-election bid in Northeast Philly's 170th District. 

Boyle, who has no opponent in the May 29 Democratic primary election or Nov. 4 general election, is also a candidate in the highly competitive primary for the 13th Congressional District.

Otter filed the challenge in the name of Michelle Szydlowski, a voter in the 170th District, who did not attend today's hearing. Otter, who said he hasn't met or spoken with Szydlowski, declined to identify who hired him.

Otter had a good laugh when we asked if another candidate for the 13th District was paying for the challenges.

"I'm shocked that you would even ask that question," Otter said.

Otter challenged Boyle's petitions because one of his staffers, Nicholas Himebaugh, notarized the bulk of them.

Senior Judge James Gardner Colins, after hearing Himebaugh testified that the notarization did not happen during his work hours, dismissed the challenge.

Himebaugh and other Boyle staffers suspected state Sen. Daylin Leach, another 13th District candidate, was behind the challenge. 

Leach's campaign manager, Aren Platt, was in court this morning. He said Leach's campaign had no involvement in the challenge.