Fervid partisan sentiment that simmered on social media four years ago has bubbled over into this year’s race for a state House seat in Northeast Philadelphia.
The Republican City Committee last week resurfaced 2016 Facebook posts from Democratic nominee Mike Doyle, in which he used the n-word and posted a picture of a gravestone covered in anti-Semitic graffiti. The party posted the social media screen-grabs on Facebook and sent them to reporters. In the posts, Doyle was clearly sparring with someone he considered to be racist and anti-Semitic, not advocating for those bigotries himself.
Doyle, who lost a 2018 bid for the same 170th District seat to incumbent state Rep. Martina White, also posted at one point that he lived “in the most racist part of the city.”
He apologized in a statement last week.
“In 2016, tensions were at an all-time high," he said. "I like many other Americans engaged in confrontations via social media. Unfortunately, during one of my interactions with a blatant racist and anti-Semite I mocked their hate by using the language of hate myself.”
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers rescinded its endorsement of Doyle last week, calling itself “disgusted and disappointed.”
White, who was first elected in the district in a 2015 special election and is now the city’s lone Republican state legislator, said Doyle should drop out of the race and called it “reprehensible” that the Democratic Party and other groups still support him.
The House Democratic Campaign Committee said a new poll in the district showed the race tied. Doyle lost to White, who is also chair of the Republican City Committee, by more than 15 percentage points two years ago.
State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, a Philadelphia Democrat who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, accused the Republican City Committee of “faux-activism tactics," noting that the party has remained silent when President Donald Trump made public statements widely seen as racist.
“The hypocrisy is astounding, but unsurprising,” Kinsey said in a statement.
Bob Brady, chairman of the Democratic City Committee, said he wishes White good luck.
“He must have her nervous,” Brady said of Doyle.