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 8:49 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2018 8:49 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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