Rep. Costello announces retirement from Congress

October 4, 2011

Michell Eloy

(Flickr/Committee On Transportation and Infrastructure)
Rep. Jerry F. Costello of Illinois chairs a hearing by the Subcommittee on Aviation on Airline Fees on July 15, 2010.

Illinois U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello announced today he won't be seeking re-election next year after 23 years in office.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the 62-year-old downstate Democrat insisted he never intended to be
a career congressman and said he's retiring to pursue other interests.

“You have to make a decision,” Costello said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Do you want to continue to do what you're doing just to do it, or do you want to move on and do other things and be productive in other ways.”

Costello’s retirement sets up a potential fight for the soon-to-be vacant southwest seat in next year’s election, one Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady thinks the GOP can win. He says Costello’s district has been trending red in recent elections, pointing to Republicans Rep. Mark Kirk and gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady’s victories there in the 2010 election.

“We think that is now a Republican district,” said Brady. “And with Congressman Costello's sudden resignation, I think we're in a pretty good position to take that back and will take it back.”

Costello currently serves the southwest part of Illinois, which includes the East St. Louis area.

Upon announcing his retirement on Tuesday he said he’s most proud of securing a future for Scott Air Force Base, and seeing construction start on the new Mississippi River Bridge.