WASHINGTON – Ryan Costello, chairman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, launched his campaign for Congress Wednesday, taking aim at a Chester-based seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), who is not seeking re-election.
Costello's announcement included an endorsement from Val DiGiorgio, the Chester County Republican chairman, who had himself considered running for the seat. With the bulk of the district's votes based in Chester, the chairman's endorsement could be a valuable asset in a potential GOP primary.
"The nation and many elected officials have become so divided and polarized that it is impacting the
future direction of the country," Costello said in a news release announcing his run. " Republicans and Democrats are going to have their differences on policy issues – that's the nature of political parties. But we need to separate those various policy battles from the larger issue of working together as Americans to restore a national sense of optimism and chart a course that ensures the United State is competitive on a global scale – now and in the future."
The district is notable for being one of only a handful of swing districts left on the map. Though Republicans have long held the seat, the political divide there is a narrow one. Gerlach has been part of a shrinking group of moderates in the House, and the candidates vying to replace him so far have emphasized cooperation over gridlock.
"Both parties need to work together to do what is in the best interest of the country, just as we have worked cooperatively here on the county level," said Costello, 37.
The release included DiGiorgio's endorsement. "Ryan has distinguished himself as a smart and thoughtful leader," he said in the statement.
Costello is the first Republican to enter the race and his backing in Chester could bring support from the state's top Republicans – who view the seat as one that shoiuld be held by a Chester resident. The district also includes parts of Montgomery, Berks and Lebanon counties, though Chester makes up the largest piece.
Costello is an attorney with the Phoenixville firm O'Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C. He graduated from Urisinus college and Villanova Law School and lives in West Chester.
The only other candidate in the race so far is Democrat Michael Parrish, a former Army aviator and head of an energy company with offices in West Chester. Numerous other hopefuls in both parties have been mentioned as possible candidates, though no one else has formally entered the race.