Chesco board chairman's run for Congress gets in gear

Posted: January 22, 2014

WASHINGTON Ryan Costello, chairman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, will run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.).

Costello's announcement last week included an endorsement from Val DiGiorgio, the Chester County Republican chairman, who also considered running for the seat. With the bulk of the district's votes based in the county, the chairman's endorsement could be a valuable asset in a 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, 37, said in a statement.

"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 States is competitive on a global scale - now and in the future."

The district is notable as one of a handful of swing districts left on the map. Republicans have long held the seat, but the political divide there is narrow. Gerlach has been part of a shrinking group of moderates in the House.

Costello is the first Republican to enter the race, and his county backing could bring support from the state's top Republicans. The district also includes parts of Montgomery, Berks, and Lebanon Counties.

Costello is a lawyer with the Phoenixville firm O'Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C. He graduated from Ursinus 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.


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