Sunday, March 1, 2015

Boyle's Burden

Philly state Rep. Brendan Boyle is the Democrats' new campaign chief and faces an uphill fight to win back the state House.

Boyle's Burden

With Republicans running the show in Pennsylvania -- they control the state House, Senate and Guv's office -- and pushing through a new budget with deep cuts in education and social services, Democrats can do little but whine, predict disaster and plan a counterattack.

The newly named leader of a big part of that counterattack is Philly Rep. Brendan Boyle. He was just officially named chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, the person who will direct the attempt to regain control of the House next year.

That it's someone so new to the game (he's only in his second, two-year term) and so young (he's 34, probably the youngest person ever to hold the post) suggests either nobody wanted the gig because it's so daunting OR he's a political prodigy Dems hope can work miracles.

"I do love campaigns," he tells me.

He's got one good one under his belt: he helped his brother, Rep. Kevin Boyle, oust long-time incumbent Republican John Perzel last year.

In addition, Brendan teaches "campaign management" to graduate students at Drexel and has managed some face time with President Obama at the White House. He recently was an invited guest at a young elected officials event and prior to that was a guest, along with brother Kevin, at the White House St. Patrick's Day dinner.

Boyle tells me Democrats have a case next year. Republicans, he says, are "overreaching" at the national level by trying to privatize Medicare and are looking "extreme" at the state level with big cuts in higher-ed and K-12, the latter at a time the state has resources that the GOP is socking away.

Still, there are mountains to climb. In order to regain House control, Dems must flip 11 seats after last year's disastrous loss of 13 seats. AND they'll have to do so with a newly drawn political map after redistricting, which is controlled by Republicans.

"The Republicans have the advantage of a huge majority in a year before redistricting," says Boyle, "It is a concern."

On the other hand, it's a good gig for a young pol. If he succeeds, he's a genius. If he falls short,  he's a team player who took on a tough task at a difficult time. Either way, Boyle's burden likely lifts him higher in statewide Democratic circles.





John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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