Bob Brady Not Running for Re-Election

Pa. Democrat’s campaign accused of bribing a former opponent to leave a primary

Pennsylvania Rep. Robert A. Brady says he wants to be closer to his family. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Pennsylvania Rep. Robert A. Brady says he wants to be closer to his family. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:55pm

Updated 3:34 p.m. | Rep. Robert A. Brady will not run for re-election, he announced Wednesday. The Pennsylvania Democrat was already facing a handful of primary opponents amid an ongoing scandal relating to his alleged bribing of a former challenger.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that Brady’s decision was not related to the court case surrounding allegations that his campaign paid a 2012 primary challenger to leave the race. He reiterated that point at a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Philadelphia. 

“I will not be charged in this case,” he said. “I did nothing wrong.”

The FBI had filed a search warrant relating to Brady’s emails in the case, the Philadelphia CBS affiliate reported in November. The same month, the Inquirer reported that the statute of limitations for most of the charges Brady could have faced would expire in January. 

Two Brady aides were charged with making an unlawful payment to his 2012 primary challenger, who then dropped his bid. One of Brady’s aides, Donald Jones, pleaded guilty in December to lying to federal agents and agreed to cooperate in the investigation.

First elected to the 1st District in a special election in 1998, Brady was already facing a handful of Democrats in the May 15 primary. They included former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Nina Ahmad, minister and radio host Michele Lawrence, financial analyst Lindy Li, and Willie Singletary, a former traffic court judge and ex-felon. 

Hillary Clinton carried the district, which encompasses south and central Philadelphia, by 61 points in 2016. However, the district could get new boundaries before this year’s midterms. 

Watch: The Many Ways to Draw a Gerrymander

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week tossed out the state’s congressional map on partisan gerrymandering grounds, ordering that new lines be drawn before the this year’s elections.

The GOP-led legislature, which drew the map, has requested the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the order. Plaintiffs in the case were confident the U.S. Supreme Court would not step in, because the Pennsylvania court ruled the map violated the state, not the federal, constitution.

Under the court’s order, the state Legislature and the Democratic governor have until mid-February to agree on a new map.

Brady said he decided to announce his decision Wednesday because legislators were already starting to draft new lines. He said he did not want his residency to be a factor in redistricting.

“I want them to know it’s fine to draw a district without worrying about where I live,” he said.

The longtime congressman, who is also chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, said the true motivation for his retirement was to be closer to his family. He said the recent three-day government shutdown, during which he was alone in his Washington office over the weekend, caused him to reflect on the time he spent away from his family.