State Rep. Brendan Boyle this afternoon said he is boycotting a forum this evening for Democratic candidates seeking the 13th District seat of the U.S. House.  Boyle called the event a "farce" put on by a supporter and employee of one of his primary foes, former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies.

56th Ward Leader John Sabatina Sr. is hosting the debate.  Boyle today noted that Sabatina has endorsed Margolies and is listed on her campaign payroll.  Northeast Times Editor Tom Waring is moderating the forum.

"It is a farce that a debate organized by the Margolies campaign could truly be a neutral event," Boyle said in a news release. "This became quite apparent when Mr. Sabatina unilaterally sent his rules to the campaign, allowing for candidates to read off note cards and barring questions from the general public."

That's a reference to Margolies, who made her first appearance at a candidate forum recently and read from note cards when responding to questions on issues.

Boyle plans to hold a rally about one mile away from the forum, which will conclude with a "canvass of neighborhoods across Northeast Philadelphia."

Ken Smukler, a spokesman for Margolies, shot back at Boyle in an email this afternoon: "What is Brendan Boyle afraid of? That John Sabatina will be putting up more Marjorie posters in the room? That the Portuguese Club will cut off his microphone while he's talking?"

The other two candidates, state Sen. Daylin Leach and Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, are expected to participate in the forum.