Born: Sept. 7, 1976
Family: Married, Christine Costello; one child
Education: Ursinus College, B.A., 1999; Villanova University, J.D., 2002
Career: Lawyer, 2002-present
Elected Office: Chester County Board of Commissioners, 2011-present; Chester County recorder of deeds, 2008-11; East Vincent Township Board of Supervisors, 2002-08
Suburban Philadelphia was a national battleground for the two major parties this year, and Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello sealed it for the Republicans, keeping GOP control of a 6th District seat that has looked less and less friendly to Democrats in recent elections. Costello defeated physician Manan Trivedi, an Iraq War veteran and a former adviser to the Obama campaign who had lost two previous races for the seat.
Costello, the son of two Pennsylvania public-school teachers, grew up in Chester County and earned his undergraduate degree from Ursinus College and his law degree from the Villanova School of Law. A practicing attorney, he served on the East Vincent Township Board of Supervisors, where he was elected chairman, and then as recorder of deeds in Chester County. He later was elected to the Chester County Board of Commissioners, the three-member governing body of the county, and was chosen by the commission as chairman. Costello touted a record of balancing county budgets of more than $500 million, cutting government spending, and improving the county’s 911 emergency call system. He ran unopposed for the GOP nomination for the congressional seat after an early opponent, Michael Parrish, dropped out before the primary.
Democrats eagerly eyed the seat after six-term GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach announced he would retire. The national party put Trivedi (who had lost to Gerlach twice) on its “Red to Blue” program in hopes of a pickup. But the onetime swing district had become more conservative with redistricting after the 2010 census. President Obama, who won the district with 58 percent of the vote in 2008, lost it with 48 percent to Mitt Romney in 2012.
Costello had the endorsement of the National Rifle Association (which made independent expenditures on his behalf and also contributed to his campaign) and the help of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $100,000 on an ad lauding Costello as the best candidate to rein in a “tax-and-spend White House.” Trivedi questioned Costello’s ethics, accusing the county commissioner of steering a lucrative health care contract to the company of one of his campaign donors—a charge the Costello camp denied.
Costello cast Trivedi as a creature of Washington and its liberal Democrats. He issued a tongue-in-cheek bet to Trivedi over a Washington-Philadelphia football game, suggesting Trivedi’s home team was in the nation’s capital. A National Republican Congressional Committee ad linked Trivedi to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, saying he shared her support of “Obamacare on steroids.”