A Republican congressman representing the Philadelphia suburbs has announced that he will not seek re-election, boosting Democratic hopes of winning his U.S. House seat.
U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello announced on Sunday that he would not be running in Pennsylvania's 6th District, ending weeks of speculation about his future.
During an appearance on MSNBC, the second-term congressman called it "the most difficult decision" he's ever had to make and said it was due to a number of factors, including the state's new congressional map.
Under the discarded map, Costello's suburban Philadelphia district had a Republican majority that nevertheless helped Clinton beat Trump there by 2 percentage points in 2016.
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The redrawn district has slightly more Democrats and Clinton would have won it by 9 percentage points.
"Everybody was out to get me," Costello told NBC10. "There's just so much anger and hate out there."
The 41-year-old was part of a Republican-led effort to block the new voting map from taking effect during the 2018 midterm elections. In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Costello argued the court-ordered districts "destroyed any incumbency advantage" he once held in Chester County.
"It puts me in almost entirely new territory," he said at the time.
Costello's district once included portions of Chester, Montgomery and Berks counties.
But under the new map, Costello's district comprises both Chester and a sliver of Democratic-leaning Berks County. The addition of Reading further jeopardized an already tough race against first-time candidate Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat who said she was inspired to run for office after the Women's March last year.
"While Rep. Ryan Costello and I might have disagreed on many issues, I respect and thank him for his service to our country, Commonwealth, and community," she tweeted Sunday. "I wish him and his family well in this new chapter of their lives."
Meanwhile, local Republicans called Costello's disappointing.
"In the face of a hostile and highly charged political environment and daily attacks from the left, Congressman Costello made his decision based on his belief that this is in the best interests of his family. We wish them the best," Val DiGiorgio, chairman of both the Pennsylvania and Chester County Republican committees, said in a statement.
And national Republican leadership said it's a "great loss for the party."
“We will work tirelessly to ensure this seat remains in Republican hands," National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement.
It remains unclear whether Republicans will endorse Greg McCauley, a Republican tax lawyer from Chadds Ford, Delaware Chester, who also declared for the 6th.