Costello looks safe in 6th with com­mand­ing lead over Par­rish

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rellahan mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello ap­peared poised to cap­ture re-elec­tion to a sec­ond term to rep­re­sent the 6th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict seat in a race that ex­posed bit­ter­ness be­tween him and his Demo­cratic op­po­nent, busi­ness­man Mike Par­rish.

In late but not fi­nal re­turns Tues­day, Costello had a com­mand­ing lead of

138,625 votes to Par­rish’s 97,759 or about 58 per­cent of the bal­lots, ac­cord­ing to state elec­tion re­sults.

Costello, a Repub­li­can, sought re-elec­tion to what would be his sec­ond term, while chal­lenger Par­rish had hoped to re­place him in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to rep­re­sent the vot­ers in parts of

Ch­ester, Mont­gomery, Berks and Le­banon coun­ties.

In Ch­ester County, with most of the vote counted in the mostly north­ern precinct of the county, Costello held an ad­van­tage of 42,875 to Par­rish’s 34,920. Over in Berks County, Costello’s lead was 48,860 votes to Par­rish’s 30,474, with 76 of 83 precincts re­port­ing. And in ru­ral Le­banon County, the in­cum­bent had 14,566 votes to Par­rish’s 7,555. In Mont­gomery County, re­sults had

Costello ahead by 32,324 votes to Par­rish’s 24,810.

All re­sults are un­of­fi­cial un­til cer­ti­fied by their re­spec­tive coun­ties.

In a state­ment, Costello ex­pressed grat­i­tude for the vic­tory. “I’m in­cred­i­bly hum­bled and hon­ored to have been given the trust of the vot­ers in Penn­syl­va­nia’s 6th Dis­trict, and I look for­ward to work­ing hard each day on their be­half,” he said, from his vic­tory head­quar­ters in Ex­ton. “I will con­tinue

to fo­cus on more eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity, keep­ing our com­mu­nity safe and healthy, and serv­ing our vet­er­ans with the re­spect they de­serve.”

Par­rish could not be reached for com­ment.

Although both men ex­pressed gen­er­ally mod­er­ate views con­cern­ing the leg­is­la­tion they would sup­port if elected, re­flect­ing the dis­trict’s over­all char­ac­ter, the cam­paign turned in­tensely

per­sonal in the fi­nal weeks of the elec­tion sea­son as Costello slammed Par­rish’s record of per­sonal and pro­fes­sional fi­nan­cial trou­bles, and Par­rish at­tacked Costello’s re­fusal to pub­licly dis­avow the can­di­dacy of Repub­li­can busi­ness­man Don­ald Trump.

Costello, how­ever, was able to broad­cast his mes­sage to vot­ers more widely than Par­rish, be­cause of his strong fi­nan­cial ad­van­tage in cam­paign do­na­tions. His funds ex­ceeded $1 mil­lion raised, while Par­rish was un­able to break the $300,000 mark.

Costello, 40, of West Goshen, is a grad­u­ate of Ursi­nus Col­lege and Vil­lanova Uni­ver­sity School of Law, and worked as a land use at­tor­ney. He has served as town­ship su­per­vi­sor in East Vincent, where he was born, and later as Ch­ester County Recorder of Deeds and county com­mis­sioner before be­ing elected to Congress in 2014.

Par­rish, 54, of Wil­lis­town, is a grad­u­ate of West Point Acad­emy and at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity and the Whar­ton School of Eco­nomics, where he earned mas­ter’s de­grees in engineering and eco­nomics. A small busi­ness­man, he served in the Army and is a colonel in the Army Re­serves. This was his first run for elec­tive of­fice.

In in­ter­views lead­ing up to the elec­tion, both were asked ques­tions on is­sues in­volv­ing im­mi­gra­tion, the U.S. econ­omy, the po­si­tions taken by lead­ers of their re­spec­tive par­ties, and con­cerns spe­cific to the 6th Dis­trict.

On im­mi­gra­tion, Costello opened by point­ing to the break­downs that have al­lowed mil­lions of un­doc­u­mented work­ers from en­ter­ing the coun­try.

“It is a bro­ken sys­tem,” he said. “Bor­der en­force­ment has failed. But the phys­i­cal erec­tion of a wall will not in and of it­self pre­vent the mi­gra­tion of those across the southern bor­der. Un­til the bor­der prob­lem is ad­dressed, the sit­u­a­tion is just go­ing to re­peat it­self. I think we need to de­ploy more tech­nol­ogy and more of­fi­cers.”

On the econ­omy, he said he does not “be­lieve that many of the pres­i­dent’s poli­cies have proven suc­cess­ful in el­e­vat­ing the strength of the econ­omy. We are not grow­ing at the clip that we should be at this time.”

Costello ad­dressed a com­po­nent of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Bet­ter Way” plan that he said would look at giv­ing state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment more flex­i­bil­ity at find­ing so­lu­tions for poverty.

“If we were to em­power states and county gov­ern­ment to do what works best in their com­mu­ni­ties with­out a lot of the strings and man­dates at­tached, I be­lieve we would do a lot bet­ter in pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to get be­yond poverty into sus­tain­able liv­ing,” he said.

Par­rish, in his an­swers, spoke of his ex­pe­ri­ence as a busi­ness owner and mil­i­tary vet­eran. On im­mi­gra­tion, he spoke of his ser­vice with Viet­nam refugees who had grad­u­ated from West Point with him.

“This coun­try is made of im­mi­grants,” he said. “Ev­ery­one has the op­por­tu­nity to come to Amer­ica and ev­ery­one be­lieves in the idea of Amer­ica. The term refugee or the term im­mi­grant is not a bad word in my mind.

“I think there should be a path to ci­ti­zen­ship,” he con­tin­ued. “Not what Mr. Trump is propos­ing and ship­ping them back, that’s a lit­tle ex­treme, and its cost­pro­hibitive. I think these peo­ple are hard­work­ing, but they need to be cit­i­zens in­stead of un­doc­u­mented, so they can start pay­ing into the sys­tem.”

On the econ­omy, he pointed mostly to the need for in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment.

“We need a 21st-cen­tury in­fra­struc­ture for a 21stcen­tury econ­omy,” he said, adding that the cur­rent Congress “pats it­self on the back for do­ing the bare min­i­mum, Band-Aid fixes to bridges and roads” are not the so­lu­tion, he said. “What I am calling for is a bi­par­ti­san plan for an or­ga­nized ef­fort for a mas­sive up­grade.”

His con­cerns for the 6th Dis­trict sur­rounded the mil­i­tary vet­er­ans that live here and their health care needs.

“You talk to most vet­er­ans and they will tell you for the VA sys­tem the ser­vices they get is A-plus,” he said. “But wait­ing to get clas­si­fied for dis­abil­ity ser­vices is prob­lem­atic.

To con­tact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.


U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, cen­ter, waits to vote with his son, Ryan Jr., at West Goshen N-1 polling lo­ca­tion at Trin­ity Assem­bly of God Church on Pottstown Pike on Tues­day.

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