First-Time Republican Candidate Greg McCauley Jockeying to Replace Chester County Rep. Ryan Costello

A little-known tax lawyer is now the lone Republican actively running to represent Chester County after U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello suddenly announced his retirement from politics Sunday evening.

If Costello files his paperwork to withdraw from the ballot by Tuesday’s deadline, Greg McCauley will face off against Democratic Air Force veteran Chrissy Houlahan.

If Costello does not file his paperwork on time, his name will remain on the May primary ballot. That paperwork has not been filed, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

“As of right now, I am planning to take him on,” McCauley told NBC10. “I believe he has waffled on a lot of issues and has not supported the party.”

So who is this relatively unknown candidate?

The Saint Joseph’s University alum has spent more than 35 years practicing tax law on the Chesco side of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He is an NRA member, and owned and operated nine Wendy’s franchises, according to his biography. He received his law degree from Widener University.

McCauley grew up in Delaware County and spent several formative years in Washington, D.C., he told NBC10. His father worked for both the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission under former President Dwight Eisenhower.

Despite his experience in D.C, McCauley didn’t consider running for office until recently.

“I’ve always been a workaholic,” he said. “I never really spent the time in politics that others have.”

More than anything, McCauley wants to see a balanced budget and job creation, he told NBC10. But he is also a proponent of immigration work visas, a sticking point for many traditional Republicans.

“I don’t think you’re going to deport 30 million people,” he said, referring the number of undocumented immigrants in the country. “I don’t think all the planes in the U.S. would hold 30 million people.”

A 2016 report put the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. closer to 11 million.

Costello also broke with many Republicans on the issue of immigration. He once described himself as a “middle-of-the-roader” and introduced legislation last year for a program similar to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

His ability to bring in swing voters was key to winning a district that narrowly favored Hillary Clinton.

But after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new voting map, Costello’s district turned blue with the addition of Reading. His chances at re-election narrowed, and Costello joined unsuccessful attempts to block the new map from taking effect in the 2018 midterms.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

In his filing, Costello argued that he was suddenly forced to run in a new district where his incumbency advantage no longer mattered. The courts rejected the claims, increasing Democrats' chances of picking up seats this year. 

State and national Republicans were quick to call Costello’s retirement disappointing, and vowed to continue their fight for the 6th.

It remains unclear whether McCauley will receive an official GOP endorsement despite being the only active Republican candidate. Monday was the first time McCauley spoke with party leadership since announcing his campaign, he said.

As of Monday evening, McCauley has not started fundraising for his campaign. He told NBC10 he is waiting until his petition to run for office is made official by state election officials. 

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