Bob Brady, Philadelphia's Top Democrat and Longtime U.S. Representative, Will Not Seek Re-Election

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the powerful Democratic Party boss in Philadelphia for more than 30 years, will not seek re-election to an 11th term in Congress.

"Basically, I want to come home," Brady said while announcing his retirement, noting a desire to spend time with his grandchildren. "It wasn't a factor of whether I would lose or wouldn't lose."

"I want to walk a grandchild to school, which I've never, ever done," he said.

The 72-year-old son of a city police officer, who rose through the party ranks while also gaining power in the city's organized labor sector, has previously faced little opposition in his re-election bids in Pennsylvania's 1st District.

But a cloud of suspicion has hung over him in the last year as the FBI probed into his 2012 campaign. In Dec. 2017, a political consultant to Brady pleaded guilty to lying about a $90,000 campaign contribution. The consultant, Donald Jones, admitted to making false statements about the contribution from Brady's campaign to an opponent, allegedly in order to get the opponent to drop out of the race.

Brady has not been charged with any crime.

He said Tuesday that his attorney had advised him to say that he wouldn't be charged, and that the case had nothing to do with his decision.

In addition to the FBI probe, some strong candidates have emerged to challenge Brady in the May Democratic primary.

Three women have already announced runs for the seat, which represents parts of Philadelphia and Delaware County. Nina Ahmad, a former deputy mayor, Michele Lawrence, a former banking executive, and Lindy Li, are among a field expected to grow with Brady exiting.

Another deputy mayor, Richard Lazer, who remains a part of the Kenney administration, is also rumored to announce his bid soon.

Brady announced the end to his term in Congress at a meeting with Democratic Party ward leaders. He told the party officials that he would not step down as head of the city political machine.

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