On Saturday, March 24, 2018, City & State Pennsylvania, a non-partisan news firm that releases Pennsylvania-specific news, reported that Rep. Ryan Costello said he would not be running for re-election. CNN details that despite filing for petition to run again, he has decided to step down to run for the private sector instead, citing “family, the political environment and political districting.” A lifelong resident of Chester County, Costello gained the congressional seat representing the 6th District of Pennsylvania in January 2015 and has won re-election until his decision to step down this year.
The United States Supreme Court recently determined that Pennsylvania’s congressional district maps, which previously favored the Republican Party, have been unconstitutional. The Court then denied the Republicans’ request to block the new, redrawn maps, which add two new districts in favor of the Democratic Party and determines that previous districts that were once considered strong republican areas to be less in favor of the party. As a Republican, these new maps would have hurt Costello’s chance at re-election, as Chester County has recently been determined a Democrat-favored district.
Costello had previously called the decision a “politically corrupt process,” according to the Daily Local News. Costello accused Governor Tom Wolf of political collusion, as there had been a refusal to negotiate with Republican representatives on new district maps after the court decision. He had also called for the resignation of the Supreme Court justices after their refusal to allow Republican representatives to block the new district maps.
“I thought the (state) Supreme Court would try to pretend or disguise their partisanship,” Costello reported in the Daily Local News. “But, in terms of my seat, it becomes very obvious it was a political power play. It’s known that the justices were funded by liberal forces. This is what they paid for, I guess.”
“You almost have to feel bad for Costello,” Tim Cochran, a recent transfer student and English major at West Chester University stated. “I don’t, but still, you almost have to. He didn’t even make it through four years in Congress, but I guess that’s what Republicans get for messing up the map in the first place.”
Kirsten Magas, a sophomore English major at West Chester University, commented her thoughts on Costello stepping down. “I’m not a Republican,” she said, “But I can understand that he’s a decent guy trying to do his job. It’s a shame to see him have to resign because of halted progress. He’s leaving a job he was probably once passionate about because of a troublesome coworker.”
His “coworker” here refers to President Donald Trump, referring to the political environment in which Costello found trouble working in. In an article by Slate, Costello talks about the anger directed at him after Trump’s travel ban, and the expectation for him to issue statements on Trump’s more controversial decisions as a Republican representative. He has agreed with President Trump on issues such as banning abortions after twenty weeks and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but has disagreed on Trump’s support to allow concealed carry permits to remain valid across state lines.
It is currently unknown who will run against Democrat nominee Chrissy Holahan for the 6th District representative in Costello’s place.
For more information on Ryan Costello, students can visit costello.house.gov/ for a full biography. His West Chester office can be found at 21 West Market St., Suite 105 West Chester, Pennsylvania. Mr. Costello can also be reached by phone at (610) 696-2982.
Samantha Walsh is a third-year student majoring in special education with and English with a minor in autism studies. ✉ SW850037@wcupa.edu.