Bob Brady

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Bob Brady
Chair of the Democratic Party of Philadelphia
Assumed office
June 16, 1986
Preceded byJoseph F. Smith
Chair of the House Administration Committee
In office
May 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byJuanita Millender-McDonald
Succeeded byDan Lungren
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 1st district
In office
May 19, 1998 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byTom Foglietta
Succeeded byBrian Fitzpatrick (Redistricting)
Personal details
Born (1945-04-07) April 7, 1945 (age 75)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

Robert A. Brady (born April 7, 1945) is an American politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district from 1998 to 2019. He was the ranking Democrat, and Chairman, on the United States House Committee on House Administration from 2007 to 2019, where he was known as the "Mayor of Capitol Hill" by his colleagues. He has served as Chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party for more than 30 years,[1] and was one of the few members of Congress who was also a county chairman (Philadelphia Democratic City Committee).

In January 2018, Brady announced that he would not run for re-election in 2018.[2]

Early life, education, and pre-congressional career[edit]

Brady was born in Philadelphia, the son of Enez (née Caterini) and Robert G. Brady, a police officer. His father was of Irish descent, and his maternal grandparents were immigrants from Italy.[3][4] He graduated from St. Thomas More High School, but did not attend college, instead going to work as a carpenter. He became a part of the leadership of the union, and remains a member of several unions.[5]

He was elected a division committeeman for the Democratic Party in 1968. When ward leader and then-City Council President George X. Schwartz was convicted and imprisoned in the Abscam scandal, Brady was elected to succeed him as Democratic Leader of west Philadelphia's 34th Ward, a position that he still holds today.[6] Since June 1986, Brady has been the Chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party. He served as a staff aide in the Philadelphia City Council and a staff aide in the Pennsylvania State Senate. Brady has been an professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he instructs graduate students in management and political science. He was also a member of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission from 1991 until his election as a Congressman.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Brady during the 115th Congress


When 17-year U.S. Congressman Tom Foglietta resigned from the House of Representatives upon being named U.S. Ambassador to Italy by Bill Clinton, Brady was unopposed in the primary and won the general election with 74% of the vote. Brady was sworn in on May 19, 1998. He has won re-election since, with at least 81% of the vote. An 18-year veteran in Congress in 2016, Brady was elected to his 10th full term over Republican challenger Deborah Williams in the general election on November 8, 2016, with his 81% of the vote record intact.[7] Brady represents a heavily Democratic area and is the head of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, thus, he has generally won the Democratic nomination in each election unopposed.[8] Deborah Williams also ran against Brady in the 2004 race, and in that race she received the second highest number of votes a Republican candidate has ever achieved against the incumbent, which she topped in the 2016 election.[9] The 2016 election marks the most votes any challenger has ever received against him.



  • The Philadelphia Inquirer described him as "the longtime boss of the Democratic City Committee, one of the few old-fashioned big-city political machines left. Running against him could equal career suicide."[10]
  • Politico described him as "the old-school politician and party boss — known in Congress as a fixer and backroom dealmaker."[1]
  • In 2001, the political website PoliticsPA described him as a "consummate 'backroom politician' (and we say that with respect!)" and said that he might be the best county party chair in Pennsylvania.[11] In 2003, the Pennsylvania Report said that Brady has "managed effectively to balance his multiracial district and city Democratic party."[12][13]
  • In 2009, the Pennsylvania Report noted that "[w]hile he still would like to be Mayor, Brady's influence and power in Philadelphia remains strong."[14]
  • Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Williams said he is "probably one of the most politically astute politicians in the last 20 years, and that's rarefied air." J. Whyatt Mondesire, head of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, said no one can match "Brady's relationships with politicians across the Democratic landscape."[15]
  • In 2015, during Pope Francis' visit to the United States, he stole the glass that the Pope drank from and then drank from it himself, had his wife and two others drink from it, had Sen. Bob Casey, his wife and mother as well as Rep. Joseph Crowley stick their fingers in the glass. He said he also planned to have the Philadelphia police dust the glass to lift the Pope's fingerprints. Brady said, "I'm sure it's blessed if the Pope drank out of it. Why not?" and "If not, I'm saying it is." Additionally, in 2009, Brady stole the glass used by former President Barack Obama after his inauguration.[16]
  • Congressman Brady has many times been a teller for the Joint session of the United States Congress to count and certify the Electoral College vote for President and Vice President. Congressman Brady is noted for incorrectly stating "Electoral Vote"; he instead says "Electorial Vote"

Corruption case[edit]

In November 2017, it was revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating Brady for alleged payments that Brady's campaign made in 2012 to an opponent in order to get the opponent to withdraw from the race.[17] In January 2018, he announced that he would not seek reelection.[18] He said that his decision had nothing to do with the ongoing corruption probe, but that he instead wanted to spend more time with his family.[18]

Political positions[edit]

Brady is pro-choice and voted against President Bush's restrictions on funding to family planning groups in 2001. Over the years, he has supported minors' abortion rights, voting in 2005 for the right for those under 18 years of age to obtain abortions across state lines without parental consent.[19] He voted against the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which prohibits health insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in a plan to any citizen. He opposed a proposal to prohibit federally funded abortion services.[20] Over the past fifteen years, organizations such as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, and Planned Parenthood rated him 100%.[21]

Brady voted in favor of the Small Business Lending Fund and Tax Law Amendment. The September 2010 amendment provides loans to small business through financial institutions.[22] He supported the Small Business Jobs Bill in October 2010.

Brady voted against the Secure Fence Act (2006), which authorized the construction of additional fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006.[23] He supports Homeland Security Appropriations for border protection and The U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Technology project, which works towards improving the capability of the government to keep track of immigrants and control their entry and exit.[24] Groups such as the National Latino Congreso/William C. Velásquez Institute, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the anti-immigration Federation for American Immigration Reform have rated Brady between 50% and 100% for his pro-immigration political stances.[21]

Attention to constituents[edit]

Brady claims to have once refused to receive a phone call from President Bill Clinton because he was busy helping a woman who had called seeking someone to come over and fix her toilet.[25]

Brady with President Clinton

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

2007 Philadelphia mayoral campaign[edit]

On January 25, 2007 Brady announced that he would seek the Democratic Party nomination for mayor of Philadelphia. He was the second sitting U.S. Congressman after Chaka Fattah to announce his candidacy for mayor.[28] On March 6, Brady failed to list his city pension on the financial-interests statement he filed with his nominating petitions. Within a week Milton Street filed a petition challenge to remove Brady from the ballot for failing to disclose his pension income. Another challenge was brought by a group of voters, and supported by mayoral candidates Tom Knox and Dwight Evans. On April 13, 2007, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that Brady's failure to not list part of his income would not keep him off the primary ballot.[29] On May 15, 2007, Brady lost the Democratic mayoral primary to Michael Nutter.

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2014 Election to the US House[30]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 83%
    • Megan Ann Rath (R), 17%
  • 2012 Election to the US House[31]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 85%
    • John Featherman (R), 15.1%
  • 2010 Election to the US House[32]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), unopposed
  • 2008 Election to US House[32]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 91%
    • Mike Muhammad (R), 9%
  • 2006 Election to the US House[32]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), unopposed
  • 2004 Election to the US House[32]
  • 2002 Election to the US House[32]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 86%
    • Marie Delaney (R), 12%
  • 2000 Election to US House[32]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 88%
    • Steve Kush (R), 12%
  • 1998 Election to US House[32]
    • Bob Brady (D) (inc.), 81%
    • William Harrison (R), 17%
  • 1998 Special Election to US House[32]
    • Bob Brady (D), 74%
    • William Harrison (R), 13%
    • Juanita Norwood (Reform), 11%


  1. ^ a b "Rep. Robert Brady not running for reelection". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  2. ^ Otterbein, Holly (January 31, 2018). "Bob Brady is not Running for Reelection". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  3. ^ "Robert Brady profile". Archived from the original on 5 November 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Bob Brady ancestry". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Robert Brady House of Representatives website". Archived from the original on 2 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  6. ^ Committee of Seventy (2009-12-21). "2009 Citizen's Guide" (PDF). 2009 Citizen's Guide. The Committee of Seventy, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  7. ^ "What's at stake as Delco voters cast ballots on Election Day". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  8. ^ "Meehan, Fitzpatrick win tough U.S. House races in Pennsylvania". PhillyVoice. 2016-11-09. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  9. ^ "Philly's toughest Congressional candidate? Female, black and Republican". PhillyVoice. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  10. ^ "Archives -". Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  11. ^ "PA's Best and Worst County Chairs". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2001. Archived from the original on 2003-02-12.
  12. ^ "The PA Report "Power 75" List" (PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 31, 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-20.
  13. ^ Roarty, Alex; Sean Coit (January 2010). "Pennsylvania Influencers" (PDF). Politics Magazine. pp. 44–49. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-29.
  14. ^ "PA Report 100" (PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 23, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-30.
  15. ^ "Archives -". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  16. ^ Diamond, Jeremy. "The Congressman and the possibly Holy Grail". CNN. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Court docs: Congressman Bob Brady under FBI scrutiny in campaign finance probe". Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  18. ^ a b "Philly congressman Brady won't seek another term". AP News. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  19. ^ [1], Robert Brady on Abortion. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  20. ^ [2], Representative Robert Brady. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  21. ^ a b [3], Interest Group Ratings. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  22. ^ [4], Key Vote: Small Business Lending Fund and Tax Law Amendments. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  23. ^ [5], Key Vote: Secure Fence Act of 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  24. ^ [6], U.S. VISIT. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  25. ^ McCutcheon, Michael; Barone, Chuck (2013). 2014 Almanac of American Politics. The University of Chicago Press.
  26. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  28. ^ Lucey, Catherine (January 25, 2007). "Starting Today, he's in the race". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
  29. ^ "Court Ruling Keeps Brady On Mayoral Primary Ballot". Associated Press. April 13, 2007. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
  30. ^ "2014 General Election Unofficial Returns". November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  31. ^ "2012 General Election Official Returns". November 6, 2012. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h "Pennsylvania House District 1". Chicago Sun-Times. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2008-04-07.

External links[edit]

Media related to Bob Brady at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Smith
Chair of the Philadelphia Democratic Party
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas M. Foglietta
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Brian Fitzpatrick
Preceded by
Juanita Millender-McDonald
Chair of the House Administration Committee
Succeeded by
Dan Lungren
Preceded by
Dianne Feinstein
Chair of the Joint Library Committee
Succeeded by
Chuck Schumer