Rep. Trey Gowdy not seeking re-election

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said Wednesday he is not running for re-election and plans to leave pol...

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 9:49 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2018 9:49 AM

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said Wednesday he is not running for re-election and plans to leave politics.

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, issued a statement saying he planned to retire from Congress at the end of this term and would return to working in the justice system.

"Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system," the South Carolina Republican said. "As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding."

Gowdy's announcement makes him the latest Republican committee chairman to announce retirement ahead of midterm elections that are seeing a spike in Republicans headed for the exit. Unlike many other members, however, Gowdy was not facing a difficult re-election campaign in 2018.

Gowdy, who was first elected in 2010 after ousting former Rep. Bob Inglis, became chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last year after Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz left Congress.

The South Carolina Republican earned conservative plaudits and national recognition as a chief investigator in the House, most famously helming the House probe into the 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. Democrats lambasted the investigation, accusing Republicans of using it to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Republicans likely to hold district

Gowdy's retirement is unlikely to have an effect on the balance of power in the GOP-controlled House. President Donald Trump and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney won the 4th Congressional District by more than 20 points in their respective elections, and it is almost certain to remain in GOP hands.

In a statement released shortly after Gowdy's announcement, the National Republican Congressional Committee praised the congressman and expressed confidence the GOP would retain control of the district.

Several challengers have already announced their plans to run for the 4th Congressional District seat. State Sen. William Timmons of Greenville announced his run just hours after Gowdy's statement. Spartanburg County Republican Party Chairman Josh Kimball took to Facebook to say he is exploring a run for the seat. State Rep. Dan Hamilton of Greenville also confirmed to CNN that he will run.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley -- a former Republican governor of South Carolina -- likewise praised Gowdy in a tweet.

"I always said the reason @TGowdySC was amazing at his job was bc he disliked politics so much. Trey, thank you for your impatience, sacrifice, and fight to make our country a more just place. SC and our country thank you for your service. I thank you for your friendship," Haley said.

In a series of tweets praising Gowdy, South Carolina's GOP Sen. Tim Scott anticipated another chapter in his colleague's career and nodded to Gowdy's widely noted and varying hairstyles.

Center of the fray

Gowdy's congressional tenure has been marked by central roles in high-profile investigations.

The Gowdy-led House Benghazi investigation drew near constant headlines and included a focus on Clinton's email practices as secretary of state.

In the fall of 2015, Clinton appeared before the committee for a daylong hearing, and as he released a report on the probe's findings, Gowdy defended the investigation and faulted the Obama administration for lapses that led to the deaths in Benghazi.

Gowdy's name surfaced as a potential choice last May in the wake of Trump's decision to fire James Comey as FBI director. Gowdy took himself out of the running, and said in a statement at the time that he had told Attorney General Jeff Sessions he would not be the right choice to take over the bureau.

More recently, Gowdy has both criticized the FBI's conduct during the 2016 election and defended former FBI Director Robert Mueller's stewardship of the special counsel investigation into potential coordination between Trump's associates and Russia to influence the 2016 US election.

As some Trump allies have ratcheted up criticism of the special counsel, Gowdy has voiced his support for Mueller, saying last fall that he did not think Mueller should step down. Last Sunday on Fox News, Gowdy maintained his position, saying he had "100%" trust in Mueller.

At the same time, Gowdy has been among the chief proponents of releasing a controversial memo from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, a California Republican, alleging the FBI abused its surveillance powers.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2111556

Reported Deaths: 53604
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings28079410461
Queens2774949966
Suffolk2011683400
Nassau1837533176
Bronx1836956583
New York1384044508
Westchester1297282291
Erie896041809
Richmond750591840
Monroe690541112
Orange48337843
Rockland46965963
Onondaga38970678
Dutchess29483445
Albany24712357
Oneida22637516
Niagara20045374
Broome18633366
Saratoga15389168
Ulster13916257
Schenectady13207205
Rensselaer11235143
Putnam1062292
Chautauqua8958145
Chemung7774136
Oswego762792
Ontario740893
Steuben6957145
Sullivan667976
St. Lawrence664697
Cayuga633892
Jefferson615568
Wayne578570
Cattaraugus572391
Genesee5437124
Herkimer5193109
Clinton483833
Madison456589
Livingston452460
Fulton442392
Tompkins435052
Montgomery4254127
Columbia4068104
Cortland392963
Tioga383463
Warren366157
Wyoming358453
Allegany355987
Chenango350476
Otsego346347
Greene340579
Washington316255
Orleans312183
Lewis281136
Franklin256312
Delaware238538
Seneca201156
Schoharie169317
Essex159326
Yates117926
Schuyler108014
Hamilton3132
Unassigned10016
Out of NY0250
Utica
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Oneonta
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 74°
Herkimer
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 81°
Old Forge
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
18 Facets of Summer Photo Contest brought to you by Herkimer Diamond Mines
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Alivana Ready for Summer Giveaway
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve