GOP In Chester County Facing Dilemma In Wake Of Costello Decision

Jim Melwert
March 26, 2018 - 3:09 pm
Pennsylvania Capitol

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW NEWSRADIO) -- Republican Ryan Costello’s announcement that he will not seek re-election to his Congressional seat in Chester County leaves the GOP in a bit of quandary.

Ryan Costello’s decision comes as no surprise. He’s been hinting at this for weeks, but the timing presents a challenge for party leaders, says Republican operative and lobbyist John Keleman.

The deadline to get on the ballot passed last week, the deadline to take a name off the ballot is Tuesday. That leaves the GOP with three options: Take Costello off the ballot and either accept Greg MacCauley as the Republican candidate or try to organize a write-in campaign; or keep Costello on the ballot through the primary, and, if he wins, party leaders could then hand-pick his replacement.

“In a primary election to ask voters to make what essentially would be a proxy vote for someone to be selected by party leaders, that’s a very tall ask,” Keleman said.

Keleman says for a new candidate to develop the name-recognition and goodwill that Costello’s developed in more than a decade in local and county politics, it would likely cost millions.

“And when you’re facing a candidate in Chrissy Houlahan, who already has a million dollars in the bank and has the full support of the DCCC, that is a very, very tall task,” he said.

Costello says it was not an easy decision, with the Trump Presidency, Democrats are becoming more engaged and angry. And, he says, if and when he disagrees with the President, he also feels the wrath from pro-Trump Republicans.