A Profile in No Courage

In 2014, Ryan Costello was elected to represent Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district, which includes parts of Berks, Chester, Lebanon, and Montgomery counties. A Republican, Costello was re-elected in 2016. Earlier this year he announced that he would seek a third term in 2018.

Below is a map of that district at the time of Costello’s two victories at the polls.

Seems a little…strange, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t an accident. It was drawn this way by Republicans in the state’s legislature to create a geographic area that it would be almost impossible for a Republican candidate to lose. Basically, they loaded as many Republicans as they could into a physical space and drew the wacky district lines around them.

In response to a legal challenge to the fairness of this strange creation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled this bizarrely shaped district unconstitutional and demanded that the state legislature, led by the same people who drew the offending district boundaries, do it differently this time – and do it better. They couldn’t – or, more precisely, they refused to – so the state Supreme Court did the redrawing all by itself. The new district looks like this.

So what does Congressman Costello do? He looks at the new map, wets his pants, realizes he would face actual competition for his seat rather than a sure thing, and withdraws from the race.

Now he can go get rich lobbying his former colleagues

He does so, moreover, only after he has filed nominating petitions and after the deadline for candidates to withdraw from the race, creating two problems: first, his name may still end up on the ballot; and second, he screwed any Republicans in his district who might’ve been interested in running for that seat had they known the Republican incumbent wasn’t going to run. In so doing, he deprives a lot of people – Democrats, Republicans, and independents – of a real choice of legitimate candidates in November.

That Ryan Costello is a real stand-up guy.

The U.S. Congress – and the residents of Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district – will be better off without a guy who apparently doesn’t have a lick of fight in him.



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