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NRCC chairman walks back criticism of Rep. Ryan Costello

Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) stands behind Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) at a press conference last month. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers walked back his criticism of Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Ryan Costello today, saying: “It was a mistake of me to say. Ryan is a friend and we're sad to see him leave. I'm sure he made the right decision for his family and his district and I respect it.”

The background: Stivers criticized Costello over the weekend, saying he lacked the “intestinal fortitude” to continue in Congress after Costello decided not to run for reelection last month. His comments about a fellow Republican showed the GOP’s growing worry about the party’s chances to maintain control of the House as more Republicans are retiring or not seeking reelection.