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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: 468498

Reported Deaths: 9100
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison31907468
Hinds30552569
DeSoto29532342
Jackson22868335
Rankin21016355
Lee14393214
Madison13961263
Jones13053215
Forrest12879231
Lauderdale11244292
Lowndes10148171
Lamar9972122
Pearl River8569208
Lafayette8008136
Hancock7110107
Oktibbeha6764117
Washington6756146
Neshoba6350200
Monroe6304156
Warren6267159
Panola6036122
Pontotoc599292
Bolivar5960143
Marshall5917115
Union558885
Pike5424133
Lincoln5192127
Alcorn509388
George454766
Scott447392
Leflore4377138
Tippah431780
Itawamba429192
Prentiss429074
Copiah423883
Simpson4238108
Wayne419663
Tate418999
Adams4174109
Yazoo411486
Sunflower4057104
Covington404891
Marion399699
Leake389784
Coahoma385996
Newton360273
Grenada3489100
Stone342657
Tishomingo320987
Attala318285
Jasper308261
Winston298191
Clay282672
Chickasaw277464
Clarke271784
Holmes257685
Calhoun256939
Smith241546
Yalobusha215447
Tallahatchie213849
Walthall203457
Lawrence202431
Greene202045
Perry195053
Amite191251
Webster191141
Noxubee173437
Montgomery168652
Jefferson Davis164041
Carroll158936
Tunica146533
Benton137531
Kemper136538
Claiborne124134
Choctaw123824
Humphreys122036
Franklin114127
Quitman100925
Wilkinson98335
Jefferson85832
Sharkey61620
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 757893

Reported Deaths: 12784
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1082301712
Mobile694251158
Madison47738562
Baldwin35347420
Shelby34758281
Tuscaloosa32576495
Montgomery32249645
Lee21576200
Calhoun19621363
Morgan19061307
Etowah18363413
Marshall17028252
Houston15881337
St. Clair14724270
Limestone13908178
Elmore13812239
Cullman13756228
Lauderdale12909263
Talladega12124200
DeKalb11705220
Walker10047303
Autauga9371119
Blount9272146
Jackson8970132
Coffee8550150
Colbert8229160
Dale8162142
Escambia632298
Tallapoosa6255165
Covington6214153
Chilton6152128
Russell586753
Franklin558292
Chambers5155127
Dallas4569173
Marion4490114
Clarke447070
Pike439188
Geneva415999
Lawrence4002101
Winston399982
Bibb388975
Barbour334667
Marengo317778
Monroe306844
Butler305878
Pickens296166
Henry288550
Randolph288255
Hale282981
Cherokee275649
Fayette268569
Washington241844
Crenshaw226962
Clay219260
Macon211154
Cleburne205746
Lamar184638
Conecuh173337
Lowndes167856
Coosa160031
Wilcox153033
Bullock145642
Perry132430
Sumter122635
Greene117941
Choctaw71925
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