- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Barely a week since Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach announced he plans to retire, one would-be GOP successor for the southeastern Pennsylvania seat said Tuesday he has decided not to run while another said he will make his intentions public soon.

Chester County Republican Party Chairman Val DiGiorgio said he decided against running because of the burden it would place on his family and that he will support an expected bid by Ryan Costello, the chairman of the Chester County Commission.

Costello, 37, a lawyer with offices in Phoenixville and Pottstown, has not announced his candidacy but said Tuesday he will disclose his plans “very shortly.”

Also Tuesday, at least three Democrats said they are considering campaigns in the 6th Congressional District, which includes portions of Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Lebanon counties.

Mike Parrish, a Chester County businessman and former Army aviator, launched his campaign Tuesday. State Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County said he has formed an exploratory committee. And Dr. Manan Trivedi, a physician and Iraq war veteran who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2010 and again in 2012, said he is “seriously looking” at a third campaign.

Gerlach, a sixth-term congressman who is one of a shrinking number of Republican moderates in the U.S. House, said last week he is not running for re-election. He plans to retire at the end his current two-year term in January 2015.

Republican-drawn redistricting changes that took effect after the 2012 election shifted a portion of the 6th District into conservative Lebanon County for the first time to make it friendlier to a Republican candidate.

As a result, GOP voter registration rose to 44 percent of registered voters, from 39 percent, while Democratic voter registration shrank to 40 percent, from 45 percent, according to figures from state Senate Republican mapmakers.

“We should be able to hold it,” said Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason said of Gerlach’s seat.

Republicans and Democrats will choose their nominees in the May 20 primary. Pennsylvania currently has 18 representatives in the U.S. House, including 13 Republicans and five Democrats.


Associated Press writer Marc Levy in Harrisburg contributed to this report.

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