Pennsylvania-6: Ryan Costello (R)

National Journal
Nov. 4, 2014, 5:52 p.m.

Born: Sept. 7, 1976

Fam­ily: Mar­ried, Christine Cos­tello; one child

Re­li­gion: Pres­by­teri­an

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.”

Susan Milligan contributed to this article.
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