Army Vet to Run Against Pennsylvania Congressman (Updated)
Updated, 12:45 p.m. | A Republican-turned-Democrat announced Tuesday he’s making a second run for the Pennsylvania 6th District House seat currently held by Republican Rep. Ryan A. Costello.
Malvern businessman and Chester County Democrats executive committee member Mike Parrish, a West Point graduate, former Army aviator and current Army Reserve colonel, is the first Democrat to announce his entry into the race, which is rated as Favored Republican by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.
“Congress is AWOL when it comes to caring for our veterans,” Parrish said in a news release announcing his candidacy. “America needs leaders who value their constituents more than party alliances.”
Parrish campaigned for the seat in 2014 before dropping out of the race to allow two-time Democratic nominee Manan Trivedi to run without a primary. Costello ultimately beat Trivedi by 13 points to succeed former Rep. Jim Gerlach , R-Pa., who did not seek re-election.
Mitt Romney narrowly won the sprawling district, which includes portions of Chester and Montgomery counties, in 2012 by 2 points. Democrats had touted Parrish as their strongest candidate before he dropped out of the race.
At the time, Democratic operatives said many viable Democratic congressional candidates were waiting for the next presidential cycle when likely Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton would give Pennsylvania Democrats a boost in turnout and a stronger opportunity to pick up seats in the Keystone State’s congressional delegation.
Parrish switched his party registration in December 2013 and told the Philadelphia Inquirer in an interview last year that the GOP no longer reflects his values.
“I’m very much a centrist moderate, and I realize the Republican Party is going farther to the right,” he said then.
Parrish quickly earned the support of fellow Democrats in 2014. Philadelphia Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Robert A. Brady endorsed him and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held a fundraiser for him .
Parrish’s news release quoted former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell saying, “We need more Veterans like Mike in Congress.”
Editor’s note: This post was updated to change Parrish’s title with the Chester County Democrats.
Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.