Chrissy Houlahan

Contested Primary on April 28: Five Candidates (3 D’s & 2 R’s) on Ballot for Sen. Andy Dinniman’s Seat in 19th Senate District

Democratic State Senator Andy Dinniman is not seeking re-election, announcing his retirement a couple of weeks ago. The Senator has represented Chester County’s 19th Senate District since 2006 and we learned that he has endorsed Don Vymazal (D), his governmental relations advisor to succeed him.

Following the news of Sen Dinniman’s retirement on February 7, and subsequent endorsement of Vymazal, two other democrats added their names to the list of candidates seeking the position  … Rep. Carolyn Comitta, former two-term West Chester mayor and currently serving state representative of the 156th District and Kyle Boyer, a first-term member of the T/E School Board and chair of its Policy Committee. Whereas Vymazal received the endorsement of Sen. Dinniman for his seat, Rep. Comitta (D-156) received the endorsement of Gov. Wolf for the position.

At the Chester County Democratic Committee held a couple of weeks ago, Don Vymazal garnered the most votes and received the party’s endorsement.  The endorsement process requires a 65% threshold and voting was as followed:

First Ballot:
Carolyn Comitta – 25%
Kyle Boyer – 27 %
Don Vymazal – 47%
(Rep. Comitta Eliminated)

Second Ballot:
Kyle Boyer – 36 %
Don Vymazal – 63 %

Final Ballot:
Kyle Boyer – 31%
Don Vymazal — 69%

Once Chester County Democratic Committee make their endorsements, often times the other candidates will drop out of the race before the primary election. But not this time; both Boyer and Rep. Comitta are staying in the race for Chester County’s 19th Senate District and will appear on the April 28 primary ballot.

It should be noted that  incumbent Rep. Comitta (D-156) did receive Chester County Democratic Committee’s endorsement for state representative. My assumption is that should Comitta win the primary election as her party’s choice in both the senatorial race and the state representative race, she would need to make a choice.  I am not completely certain about how the process works, but presumably Rep. Comitta cannot be listed as a candidate for both races in the November general election.

After nearly thirty years in public office, replacing Sen. Dinniman is no easy task.  And given the number of important issues facing Chester County – education, pipelines, environment and land development, etc. – where  Sen. Dinniman has been front and center for the community, the selection of his replacement is all the more important.

For instance, as minority chair of PA State Education Committee, Sen. Dinniman has led various initiatives to ensure quality education programs and reduce the cost of education. Although he has championed many causes during his tenure as an elected official, advocating for our children and their education has remained a high priority.

As most of us know, T/E School District has recently received massive national (and international) attention regarding its policy decision that involved the police in the recent threat assessment of a kindergartner with Down Syndrome.  As soon as the matter surfaced, Sen. Dinniman weighed in with a lengthy letter to the T/E School Board, questioning how the threat policy is being carried out. Although his statement is now widely shared, the reading of the letter by an audience member was not permitted at the last Policy Committee meeting. (Click here to read Sen. Dinniman’s letter).

T/E School Board director and chair of its Policy Committee Kyle Boyer is a candidate for Dinniman’s senate seat. Should the school district’s threat assessment policy and the police involvement in the handling of the 6-year old with Down Syndrome impact Boyer’s chances in the primary election? For the record, T/E School District Policy 5401 Student Discipline remains under review by the school board.

In addition to the three democrats on the ballot for the contested 19th Senate District seat held by retiring Sen. Andy Dinniman are two republicans. Republicans Kevin Runey and Amber Little-Turner also filed petitions to run in the 19th district. Runey is in the healthcare industry and is a Supervisor in the London Grove Township. Little-Turner from Coatesville is a real estate investment professional.

With five candidates (three Ds and two Rs) vying for the seat of retiring Sen. Andy Dinniman, the contested primary race will be interesting.

In another local race, State Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D-157) is seeking reelection. Rep. Shusterman is running unopposed on her party’s ticket and has no counterpart on the Republican ballot for the April 28 primary election. In addition to Rep. Shusterman, the Chester County Democratic Committee also endorsed Tredyffrin Township resident Chrissy Houlahan, incumbent for the 6th Congressional District.

For further information on all the local candidates, please check their social media sites.

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Decision Reached: US Rep Ryan Costello Will Not Run for Re-Election

Congressman Ryan CostelloAccording to the Philadelphia Inquirer, it’s official that  US Rep Ryan Costello will not be seeking re-election in the 6th District.

Costello’s departure from the 6th District race was rumored the last couple of weeks but there were mixed messages last week when he filed petitions for the May primary, meeting the deadline. However in the end, citing personal and political reasons, Costello decided not to seek another term in Congress. An attorney and Chester County native, Costello will seek employment in the private sector when his current term ends.

Tax attorney from Chadds Ford, Greg McCauley has filed signatures to run as a Republican in the 6th District, with a priority issue for new jobs and wage growth in the economy. At this point, it is unclear if Costello’s name will appear with McCauley’s on the ballot for the May primary election.

Democrat Chrissy Houlahan, a veteran and former CEO, is currently running for her party’s nomination in Pennsylvania 6th Congressional District.

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Rumor or Fact – Is Republican Representative Ryan Costello Considering Retirement From the 6th Congressional District?

Related imageRumor 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.

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