Costello to end reelection bid in 6th district

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-6)

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-6) told MSNBC Sunday night that he would end his reelection campaign and not seek a third term in Congress.

Costello, a former Chester County Commissioner, has served two term in the house, In the interview, with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, he cited the partisan atmosphere and the unfavorable new 6th District map — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposed a new Congressional district map after finding the old one violated the state Constitution.
Costello would likely have faced a formidable and well-funded Democrat, Devon’s Chrissy Houlahan, in the fall election. Prior to Costello’s withdrawal, the race was seen as anything between a toss up to a lean Democrat race by national media publications. Following Sunday night’s announcement, Roll Call moved the seat, which contains virtually all of Chester County, into it’s Likely Democratic category.

While Costello’s office did not issue a statement on his decision, there was immediate reaction in the political world.
“Congressman Ryan Costello’s retirement is a great loss for both his colleagues and constituents. He’s been a fierce advocate for Pennsylvania’s 6th District and his leadership will be sorely missed,” said National Republican Campaign Commitee Chairman Steve Stivers. “We will work tirelessly to ensure this seat remains in Republican hands.”
With the district already more Democratic leaning, the loss of an incumbent candidate may make keeping it in GOP hands that much tougher. It also remains unclear when Costello will formally withdraw — which will likely have an impact who ends up with the Republican nomination.
Pennsbury attorney Greg McCauley is the only other Republican on the ballot and has only formally been running since February. If Costello withdraws before the May 15 primary, the nomination will fall by default to McCauley. If Costello stays in as a placeholder — and wins the primary — the Republican Party would be able to select a replacement. Speculation centers around current Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline as the likely replacement.
Meanwhile, the likely Democratic nominee — Chrissy Houlahan — wished Costello well in his departure.

“While Congressman Costello and I might have disagreed on many issues, I respect and thank him for his service to our country, Commonwealth, and community,” said Houlahan. “I wish him and his family well in this new chapter of their lives. My campaign is just getting started. I look forward to continuing to travel throughout our district to listen to all of the people in our community.”

A spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Costello’s exit from the race signaled that Congressional Republicans are in serious trouble around the country.

“Last year, NRCC Chairman Stivers singled out Congressman Costello’s race as a bellwether for whether Democrats could take back the majority, so Costello’s retirement is an ominous sign for Republican chances this November,” DCCC Spokesman Evan Lukaske said. “Saddled with a toxic Republican agenda that no ‘moderate’ spin could erase, and facing a strong challenge from veteran and businesswoman Chrissy Houlahan, Costello is taking a very early exit from this swing district.

“Costello’s exit should set off alarm bells for vulnerable House Republicans, who will also have to explain to middle class voters why they’ve given repeated handouts to the rich and biggest corporations, and who will face similarly tough, well-financed challenges from our deep field of impressive candidates.”

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James Pitcherella
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Ryan Costello seems out of step in the Republican Party’s march to extreme right.