The arrival of Pennsylvania’s new congressional map has long been seen as an informal deadline for State Sen. Sharif Street to decide whether to challenge a fellow Philadelphia Democrat, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle.
That deadline is here. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday selected a map that left Boyle’s Northeast Philly-based district largely unchanged.
Street, who did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, is still mulling his options, according to a Democratic source familiar with his planning.
“He knows a decision is needed in the immediate future,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly comment on Street’s deliberations.
Boyle was flying home Wednesday after leading a congressional delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Belgium and unavailable for comment, a campaign spokesperson said.
“But he’s heartened that the PA Supreme Court selected a map that keeps his entire congressional district intact, and enthusiastically looks forward to running in PA-2,” the spokesperson, Scott Heppard, said in an email.
Boyle plans to announce his reelection campaign Thursday with a two-minute video featuring testimonials from colleagues and constituents, including U.S. Rep. Hakim Jeffries of New York, chair of the Democratic House Caucus, who calls Boyle “a leading voice ... for the least, the lost, and the left behind.”
Boyle had been keenly aware of Street’s interest in the district he has represented in Congress since 2015. Now seeking a fifth term, Boyle tested his political strength against Street in a poll in December.
Street, as Democratic chair of the Senate State Government Committee, had for months been negotiating with Republican Sen. Dave Argall over a potential compromise congressional map. That map was never formally introduced.
Some proposals for a new congressional map made Boyle’s district more inviting for a primary challenge by Street. He lives a few blocks to the west of the district’s current and future lines. Candidates for U.S. House don’t have to live in the districts where they run.
Boyle’s pollster found that 58% of likely primary voters within the current district supported his reelection, while 18% supported Street and 24% were undecided. He would have a significant financial advantage. In a campaign finance report filed late last month, Boyle said he had almost $2.2 million in the bank to start 2022.
Street, who last year opened a federal political action committee while exploring a run for U.S. Senate, reported having just $114,000 in the bank.
Now in his second term as a state senator, Street is not up for reelection until 2024. His political action committee for that seat reported having $13,300 in the bank as of Dec. 31.
Some of the proposed maps would have pushed Boyle’s district to the north, into lower Bucks County, an area represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. Others carved out parts of the Montgomery County district represented by U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Democrat.
Parts of Boyle’s congressional district overlap Street’s state Senate district on the east side of North Broad Street, from Cheltenham Avenue in East Oak Lane to Master Street in North Philadelphia.