Brendan Boyle. Photo by: Youtube

Son of Irish immigrants beats Clinton machine in PA House race


Brendan Boyle. Photo by: Youtube

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brendan Boyle , the son of Irish immigrants from Donegal and Sligo, scored a resounding victory over former Rep. Marjorie Margolies, Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law, in the Pennsylvania 13th district primary on Tuesday night causing a major upset in the process.

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton had campaigned for Margolies. Both hosted fundraisers, and he appeared in her last ad of the primary, in which he told supporters: “She’ll make you proud, she’ll vote right.”

However, Irish Americans and labor leaders rallied to Boyle’s side.

“He is the true epitome of the Fighting Irish,” said Irish Democrats president Stella O’Leary, who campaigned heavily for him. She stated, “We could not be more proud of him.” 

Boyle, 37, is likely to win the congressional seat in the November election in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.

Boyle is the son of Irish immigrants: his father, Francis, left Glencolmcille in Co Donegal when he was 19-years-old.

Speaking to IrishCentral Boyle said, “I’m very proud of my Irish American background, my father came here to America almost 25-years-ago.”

His father married Brendan’s mother Mary Cunningham, a Co. Sligo native. Boyle is a favorite in the Irish American community.

He says, “As a freshman in Notre Dame, I became involved in a group of Irish American Democrats, and this was the beginning of my political journey.” He has been a long-time Clinton supporter.

When asked about Margolies during the campaign he stated, “Ms. Margolies may feel she is entitled to that seat for whatever reason, be it be through family ties or political, but I’m not worried because at the end of the day it’s up to the ordinary voters to decide.

“I think in all reality the people want to see one of their own elected to office and not another multi-millionaire. Congress already has too many multi-millionaires in office.”

The down-to-earth Notre Dame graduate notes thats he won his victory by knocking on every single door in his district. His election video featured his father sweeping the railway station where he worked

Boyle was hugely popular as a state representative for the 170th District in Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia. He won a scholarship to Notre Dame and followed that up with a Master’s degree from Harvard.

He and his brother Kevin Boyle made history in 2010 when they became the first brothers to serve together in Pennsylvania's House of Representatives.

Boyle recalls one of the opposition tactics used against his brother Kevin during his election bid. The opposition tried to use an Irish stereotype against him by posting a picture of him drinking a pint of Guinness. They had hoped to damage his campaign when, in fact, it probably had the opposite effect.

This is a family that is deeply rooted in the Irish American community.

Boyle added, “If elected I will probably be the only person in congress that checks regular GAA updates in Ireland.” A strong follower of the GAA, he remembers a trip to Ireland with his brother where they attended a doubleheader in Croke Park. Donegal played one game and Sligo the other.


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