Rumor has it is that Republican Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District is considering retirement. At least 38 U.S. House Republicans have announced they are retiring, running for another office or resigning outright — will Costello add his name to the list?
If Costello were not to seek re-election this could be a game-changer for the Democrats. But Costello doesn’t have much time to decide – he is up against a fast-approaching deadline –his petition and required signatures to run is March 20.
When you look at the map of Pennsylvania’s 6th District, gerrymandering is particularly glaring. With the recent redrawing of the congressional map by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Costello’s district was greatly affected. The new map has the boundaries of the 6th District to include all of Chester County and the city of Reading.
State Republicans want to keep the old lines and are challenging the proposed redistricting map in court but no final legal decision has been made.
There could be an interesting twist in the 6th Congressional District race, which no doubt is being discussed in the backrooms. If Costello does decide to retire, who becomes the replacement Republican candidate for the 6th Congressional District? Republican Michelle Kichline is the current chair of the Chester County’s Board of Commissioners. In 2014, Michelle replaced Ryan Costello as County Commissioner; would she now run for his seat in the 6th District?
The clock is ticking down – March 20 is less than a week away and if Costello bows out, it would give a new candidate less than a week to gather the necessary signatures to run.
This week saw Democrat Conor Lamb win the PA 18th Congressional District in a special election, in a district previously held by a Republican. Knowing that Trump carried the 18th District by 20 points, this swing from Republican to Democrat was national news and may well be the reason for the Costello retirement rumor. And the Democrat victory in the special election could also cause pause to any potential Republican replacement candidate in the 6th District.
If the incumbent Republican Representative Ryan Costello were not to seek re-election, Democrat challenger for the 6th District, Chrissy Houlahan, could find herself in an enviable position.