GOP Scrambles To Stay Afloat After Long-Time Leader Announces Sudden Retirement

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As congressional candidates prepare for the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats, knowing the importance of these elections, are gearing up to make a full sweep. The political landscape for many years to come depends on this election Apparently, though there is one Republican candidate who won’t be seeking reelection.

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello has announced that he will not seek reelection in Pennsylvania’s “hotly contested” Sixth Congressional District. According to City & State PA:

‘Despite filing petitions on Tuesday to run for another term, four Republican sources said Costello indicated at a recent meeting with state and local GOP officials that he intends to drop out of the race in the weeks before the May Primary. The sources all spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of the meeting.’

It was reported that Costello met with several top Republicans early Friday including state party chair Val Digiorgio and former Sixth District Congressman Jim Gerlach. Costello plans to take a job in the private sector, opting out of a costly reelection fight. City & State reported:

‘Long pegged by opponents as a particularly vulnerable Republican incumbent, the two-term Congressman had reportedly been eyeing an exit for weeks. While Costello eventually submitted petitions in time to make it on the ballot, Republican sources described the last-minute effort as both hurried and half-hearted – even the Congressman seemed unsure if he would see the campaign through.’

 Costello’s campaign spokesperson, Vincent Galko, did not respond to request for comment regarding the Friday meeting. Chester County GOP chair Thomas Donahue and state party chair Val DiGiorgio were both silent as well. According to City & State:

‘Some had speculated that Costello would drop out after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the GOP challenge to the state’s new congressional districts. Many observers say the new Sixth District, in the highly competitive Philadelphia suburbs, is even more favorable for Democratic candidates – last month, Costello called for the impeachment of the state Supreme Court Justices involved in that decision. A bruising Republican loss in this month’s PA-18 special election also sent shockwaves across the national GOP landscape and is generally seen as an ill omen for upcoming midterms across the country.’

Costello’s decision hurts the Republican party’s chances for winning the election because there are very few candidates who have the same name recognition as Costello. County-level Republicans have said that they are still searching for replacement. As the deadline was quickly approaching, only one candidate was able to file signatures to run as a Republican, local lawyer Greg McCauley.

According to City & State:

 ‘An attorney and Chester County native, Costello had held several county positions for years before scoring a congressional win in 2014. Recently, he had been tarred for supporting legislation that critics say defanged federal attempts to crack down on pharmaceutical opioid manufacturers – and which has been cited as one of the factors hindering government response to the opioid crisis.’

Christy Houlahan, a veteran and former CEO, is running for the Democratic party’s nomination in Pennsylvania’s Sixth District.

Just last week, another hotly contested special election was held in Pennsylvania’s 18th District:

Here’s what Twitter had to say:

Featured image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images