April 17, 2017

Moderate Republican Costello feels health care pressure in town hall

by Eric Bradner, CNN Politics, 4/8/17

West Chester, Pennsylvania (CNN)Thirty minutes before he’d face riled-up constituents in a Saturday afternoon town hall here, Rep. Ryan Costello looked out the window of his second-floor office.

“Give us his tax returns,” he chuckled, reading a passerby protester’s sign.

“A roller-blader now is telling me about it,” Costello muttered five minutes later as another man skated by.

Costello is so attuned to those protesting him that in an interview, he laid out the schedules of each of the groups that protest outside his office in West Chester’s town center daily and weekly. “On good days there’s 50; on bad days there’s 15,” he said.

Costello even asked the local chapter of Indivisible, a group opposed to President Donald Trump’s agenda, to delay its planned noon Saturday protest by two hours to avoid a conflict with a military academy nomination event. It obliged.
“Hopefully there will be more,” he said, looking outside shortly after 2 p.m. ET. “The more people, the better. It’s democracy.”

That Costello is paying such close attention to progressive protesters underscores the pressure he and other more moderate Republicans in swing districts are feeling from an energized Democratic base as House Republican leadership and the White House to discuss repealing Obamacare.

Costello’s district in Philadelphia’s western suburbs voted in favor of Hillary Clinton over Trump by 1 percentage point — and though Costello won his second term by 14 points, in a swing region he’s sure to be a Democratic target in the 2018 midterms. …

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