Dems lose top recruit in Pa. swing seat

Democrats have lost a top recruit in an open Pennsylvania House district.

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Mike Parrish, a West Point graduate and highly touted candidate by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has decided not to run for retiring Rep. Jim Gerlach's (R-Pa.) exurban Philadelphia seat.

"I have come to realize that an expensive and contentious Democratic primary fight would seriously risk our party's ability to win this seat in November to accomplish our goals," Parrish said in a statement.

Parrish, a former Republican, had been running since before Gerlach decided to retire. After Gerlach announced his decision, Iraq War veteran and physician Manan Trivedi (D), who lost twice to Gerlach, decided to run against Parrish from the left.

Trivedi's decision to run likely hurt Democrats' chances in the slightly Republican-leaning district. But while Parrish's decision deprives Democrats of the more centrist candidate they'd hoped for, it also means the party won't have an expensive and draining primary that could have damaged whoever the eventual nominee is. Parrish endorsed Trivedi in the announcement.

Republicans have coalesced around Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello (R).

National Republicans crowed about the news.

"It seems like just yesterday that the DCCC was sending out memos touting Mike Parrish's candidacy and flying Nancy Pelosi in to fundraise for him. Just a few weeks later, however, Parrish has seen first-hand how difficult it is running straight into the massive headwinds caused by Obamacare. It’s certainly understandable that he would want to jump ship," National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement.

PoliticsPA.com first reported Parrish's decision.

This post was updated at 6:10 p.m.