Pennsylvania 6 Rating Change: Costello Decision Shifts Seat to Likely Democratic

March 24, 2018 · 11:23 PM EDT

If GOP Rep. Ryan 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 headed in 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 replace 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. 

Meanwhile Democrats will nominate Chrissy Houlahan, an Air Force veteran and former chief operating officer of And1 athletic apparel company who had $950,000 in campaign funds on Dec. 31. 

Costello is probably the only Republican who would have 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 Daily Kos Elections. 

Hillary Clinton won the newly-drawn 6th District 53-43 percent over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential. Costello won re-election last cycle by 14 points in a district Clinton won 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 Democratic lean of the district in what could be a wretched election cycle for the GOP.  

We’re changing our rating from Tilt Democratic to Likely Democratic.