Former first lady Hillary Clinton faces a huge dilemma in the run up to the November midterm elections.
Traditionally, the Clintons have stayed out of primary fights, but not this one.
It looks like Clinton has decided to support daughter Chelsea’s mother-in-law Marjorie Margolies over long-time supporter, Irish American Brendan Boyle, in the Democratic primary for a Philadelphia-area House seat.
Commentators say Hillary will back Margolies following the announcement that her husband Bill is to headline a fundraiser for his daughter’s mother-in-law.
The fundraiser, which will be held in April, will provide critical funds for Margolies as she campaigns for the primary race in Pennsylvania's 13th District, a seat Margolies held from 1992-1994, against state Sen. Daylin Leach, State Rep. Brendan Boyle and Dr. Val Arkoosh to replace current U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), who is running for governor.
Margolies' key competitor in the race for the 13th district is first-generation Irish American Brendan Boyle. Boyle is the son of an Irish immigrant: his father, Francis, left Glencolmcille in Co Donegal when he was 19-years-old.
Speaking to IrishCentral Boyle says, “I’m very proud of my Irish American background, my father came here to America almost 25-years-ago.”
His father left Ireland in search of a better life and 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, he adds “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 current position by knocking on every single door in his district.
Boyle is 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.
He understands the awkward position that Hillary Clinton is in, forced to choose between supporting the Irish American candidate or her daughter’s mother-in-law.
Clinton’s Irish American backers in Pennsylvania are not happy with the fact that Bill has thrown his weight behind Margolies' bid for election. Boyle has been supported by the Irish American Democrats in his races.
It’s clear that the Clintons owe Margolies. She played a pivotal role in the success of Bill Clinton’s presidency and now tied by Chelsea's marriage, it appears that Margolies wants her payback.
Voters denied Margolies her reelection in 1994 after she cast the decisive vote for Clinton’s budget in 1993. Voters turned her out of the office during the 1994 Republicans surge.
While much is known about Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law, less well known is the fact that her father-in-law, Ed Mezvinsky, served in Congress in the 1970s, when he overcame the Nixon landslide to win a Congressional seat.
For a time he was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, but he yearned for elective office and sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1980 but lost.
In 1988, Mezvinsky won the nomination to challenge Ed Preate for Attorney General. He focused a large part of his campaign on ethics. “I’m sick and tired,” he said, “of public officials abusing the public trust. We’re going to have to restore the integrity of our government that was envisioned when they decided to make this office independent.”
Mezvinsky was later convicted of fraud.
According to TheModerateVoice.com, Mezvinsky was sentenced to 80 months in prison for his role in an "investment scheme," dubbed the "Nigerian advanced payment ponzi scheme" that ultimately robbed victims of $10 million. He was convicted of 31 of 69 charges, including mail and bank fraud, and served seven years in federal prison near Elgin Air Force Base in Florida.
He divorced Marjorie in 2007. Although he attended his son's and Chelsea Clinton's wedding, he was only permitted to be at the service.
The race is hotly contested between Boyle and Margolies who will fight a Republican in the November election. It is a heavily Democratic district.
What comes first, politics or family? One thing is for sure if Hillary were ever to decide to back Boyle it will make for some very interesting future family dinner discussions in this political dynasty.
Here is Brendan Boyle’s Campaign Video featuring his father: "My Story and Why I'm Running for Congress"