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Pa. state Rep. Kevin Boyle evades arrest; US Rep. Brendan Boyle says his brother has 'serious mental health condition'

Gillian McGoldrick, Ellie Rushing and Julia Terruso, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

Kevin Boyle will still appear on Tuesday’s ballot and remains a candidate for office, despite his legal troubles. The charges do not disqualify him from holding elected office, and he could still win the primary election. Dougherty, his primary opponent, is a favorite to win the race because he has House Democrats’ backing. The House Democratic Campaign Committee poured $72,000 into Dougherty’s campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed last week.

While the elder Boyle is also up for reelection this year and running unopposed in the primary, the Boyle family has shifted its focus away from next week’s election. The congressman said the family is focused on getting Kevin Boyle the medical treatment he needs “to make a full recovery like he previously did.”

“Our hearts are with Kevin, as well as all families who are suffering because a loved one is afflicted with a mental health illness,” he said.

Boyle still voting in Harrisburg despite his absence

During the last few months, Kevin Boyle has not missed a vote in Harrisburg, despite having his security privileges revoked in February. That means Democratic leaders were likely voting on his behalf via a remote voting policy implemented during the pandemic. Boyle previously denied that his security privileges were revoked.

But House Republicans argued Wednesday that while a warrant is out for his arrest, Boyle should not be eligible for proxy voting and should be put on leave. Removing him from votes could imperil Democrats’ narrow 102-99 majority, as 102 votes are needed to pass any legislation.

Democrats “already determined he’s not fit for duty,” House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler said during a news conference, noting that Democrats are supporting Boyle’s primary challenger. “They understand the severity of the issue and I think they’re taking advantage of him simply to maintain a 102 majority, and that’s wrong.”

The House recessed midday Wednesday while a small group of lawmakers — two Democrats and one Republican — decided whether Democrats could continue to vote on Boyle’s behalf while his whereabouts is unknown. They ultimately determined his voting privileges would remain in place.


House Majority Leader Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, defended that decision in a statement Wednesday, calling proxy voting a long-standing practice that’s complicated by “a unique and sad set of circumstances.”

“Rep. Boyle desperately needs help, not partisan performative politics,” Bradford added. “Rest assured, in short order, the state House will be taking appropriate, compassionate and affirmative steps to address this matter without theater, partisanship, or delay.”

Even if Boyle loses Tuesday’s primary, he will remain in office until his term ends in January. Democratic leaders in Harrisburg have not called for his resignation.

State Rep. Martina White, R-Philadelphia, who also represents part of Northeast Philadelphia, said her office has taken on extra work to help constituents of Boyle’s 172nd District because his office has been open for appointments only for the last few months.

“I get his constituents calling my office almost daily, because no one is answering their phone at Kevin Boyle’s office,” White added.

Boyle has not yet turned himself into police.


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