Rating Change: Costello’s Decision Shifts Pennsylvania’s 6th Further Toward Democrats

With incumbent out, Democrat Chrissy Houlahan is a firm favorite

Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan A. Costello is leaving behind a seat Democrats are likely to pick up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Republican Rep. Ryan A. Costello thought he could win, it sure seems like he would have run again. But despite having nearly $1.4 million in campaign funds on Dec. 31, the 41-year-old congressman is not seeking re-election in the newly-drawn 6th District of Pennsylvania. His withdrawal takes a GOP seat already headed in the Democrats’ direction and puts it firmly in the Democratic column.

According to a report from City & State PA, Costello will drop out before the May 15 primary. Had he dropped out after winning the primary, local party officials could’ve replaced him on the ballot. But since the March 20 filing deadline came and went last week, lawyer Greg McCauley is the likely GOP nominee. He filed with the Federal Election Commission in February, so his first fundraising will be due April 15, detailing activity through March.

[Roll Call’s 2018 Election Guide]

Meanwhile, Democrats will nominate Chrissy Houlahan, an Air Force veteran and former CEO of athletic apparel company AND1, who had $950,000 in campaign funds on Dec. 31.

Costello is probably the only Republican who had a shot at winning a district that was made more Democratic under the new congressional map ordered by the state Supreme Court. It now includes all of Chester County and Reading, and Costello currently represents 50 percent of the newly drawn 6th District, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections.

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Hillary Clinton won the new district 53 percent to 43 percent over President Donald Trump in 2016. Under the old lines, Costello won re-election by 14 points while Clinton did so by less than 1 percent.

He was going to be an underdog in the newly drawn district and there’s no indication that Republicans have a better candidate who can make up ground against Houlahan and who can compensate for the district’s Democratic lean in what could be a wretched election cycle for the GOP.

We’re changing the Inside Elections rating of the race from Tilts Democratic to Likely Democratic

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