HomeHome Page FeaturedBar video upends race in 172

Bar video upends race in 172

Aizaz Gill
Patrick Gushue
State Rep. Kevin Boyle

A video filmed at a local bar has changed the dynamics of the race in the 172nd Legislative District.

Prior to Thursday, Democratic Rep. Kevin Boyle was expected to be unopposed in the April 23 primary, waiting for the winner of the Republican primary between Aizaz Gill and Patrick Gushue. Now, Democrats appear to have a new candidate.

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A Gill press release on Friday criticized Boyle’s actions in a video filmed at Gaul & Co. Malt House, in Rockledge.

Even House Democrats called the video “very troubling.”

The three-minute video begins with Boyle sitting at the bar.

“I’ll f—— end this bar, by the way,” he tells the bartender and patrons.

Boyle eventually stands and walks around another side of the bar.

The bartender calls him a “f—— a–hole” and dares him to get in his car so she can call the cops.

Later, Boyle calls people at the bar “f—— idiots” and “f—— morons,” as they urge him to leave.

“Push me out,” Boyle responds.

Boyle tells the people they are “not from here” and will prevent them from being promoted in the military, though the people respond that they are not in the military.

The video ends with Boyle saying, “This bar is done,” and, “Do you know who the f— I am.”

“Kevin Boyle’s actions prove he is 100 percent wrong for our families. A state representative is supposed to set a positive example, help local people and businesses, and respect the people they serve. It is clear from this video that Kevin Boyle has failed on all three,” Gill said. “It is particularly horrible that Boyle seems to threaten to use his official power to close down a local business and is so patently disrespectful to the female bartender in the video, including cursing her out.”

Rockledge Police Chief John Gallagher on Saturday issued a news release that said an officer responded to the bar at 12:18 a.m. on Thursday following a call from the bouncer. The officer found Boyle outside the bar. The officer was informed by those in the bar that Boyle had left, but returned before stepping outside again. The female employees declined to press charges. The officer banned Boyle from the bar, and the lawmaker walked away.

Gill said constituents seem to be suffering.

“Maybe now we know why Mr. Boyle’s office has been closed and unresponsive to the people he is supposed to work for,” Gill said.

Boyle’s office at 7801-A Hasbrook Ave. was closed all week. The window has signs saying employees are temporarily working remotely and that constituents can call the office number. The clock is pointed to 9 o’clock as a possible reopening. UPS has a sticker that reads, “Sorry we missed you.” 

“The people of the 172nd District deserve answers, respect and service from their state representative and right now Kevin Boyle has three strikes. I will work tirelessly every day to help our communities, families, children, seniors, workers and small businesses when elected because that is what people deserve,” Gill said.

Boyle has not commented since the video was released.

Here is a statement from House Democratic leaders:

“We are aware of a video circulating on social media. It is very troubling. Rep. Boyle has been open about his personal challenges. We continue to encourage our colleague and dear friend to seek help. Our commitment to delivering mental health services does not stop at the Capitol steps. One of the main reasons we advocate so strongly for mental health access is the reality that challenges can and do happen to anyone, and seeking treatment should be encouraged, not stigmatized.”

The deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 13 (after the Times‘ print deadline), to file to run in the primary.

Gushue issued a statement saying, “I truly hope that Representative Boyle receives the necessary care during this challenging time. His unacceptable behavior and threats to utilize his position of authority to close a local business highlights the need for new leadership in the district. As a U.S. Army Ranger, I have a proven track record of service to our country and look forward to earning the chance to continue my service by representing the great people of Northeast Philadelphia.”

How are local Democrats reacting?

Bob Stewart challenged Boyle in the 2022 primary, but was not planning to run this year because he has a new job as chief of staff for newly inaugurated Register of Wills John Sabatina.

There are three wards in the 172nd district: the 56th, 58th and 63rd. Sabatina, who leads the 56th and has long feuded with Kevin Boyle and his brother, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, was ready to back Stewart.

But sources say Brian Eddis, Democratic leader of the 63rd Ward and a business representative for the Philadelphia Building Trades, offered Sean Dougherty as a candidate. Jim Donnelly, Democratic leader of the 58th Ward, agreed to back Dougherty, and a paid petition-gathering operation began. Donnelly declined to comment when reached.

Stewart won’t be running in the primary, but probably would have stood a good chance of winning due to his past run, his service as a 58th Ward committeeman and work with the Bustleton Bengals and 7th Police District Advisory Council.

Dougherty is a public defender who is the son of state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty and nephew of former electricians union leader John Dougherty. He is expected to be very well financed.

Boyle could also file to run since he has already collected plenty of petitions from the same people who are now supporting Dougherty.

Democrats control the House, 101-100, with two vacancies, and are expected to win a special election on Tuesday in Lower Bucks County. ••

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