Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Aviation subcommittee, said Tuesday that he will retire from Congress next year, The Hill reports.
Costello, who was first elected to Congress in 1988, is serving his 11th term. He was an important player in the conflict over funding for the Federal Aviation Administration this year. He also is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Costello hasn’t had any election problems in the past few years, earning 59.8 percent support last year and 71.6 percent in 2008.
In a statement, Costello didn’t say what he’ll do next. "You can't go from 100 mph every day and just stop. I intend to continue to go full speed pursuing other interests and opportunities that may come along.” He said he’ll miss the people in Washington, “but not the weekly commute from home.”
Costello’s retirement could create an opportunity for Republicans. The safety of his seat led Democrats in Illinois’ state legislature to try disrupting the district of neighboring GOP Rep. Tim Johnson when they redrew the state's congressional map rather than making Costello’s district safer.
So Republicans may be able to win Costello’s seat. The district is only marginally Democratic, with chunks of rural, Republican-leaning areas.
"They [Democrats] could have done more to shore it up," said David Wasserman, the House editor at the Cook Political Report. "Now they risk losing both the Johnson district and his [Costello’s] district."
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