Another prominent Republican lawmaker has announced he will not seek re-election.
Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina said on Wednesday that he plans to leave politics altogether to return to the justice system. A former federal prosecutor, Gowdy currently serves as House Oversight Committee Chairman.
“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,” Gowdy said. “As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding.”
There is a time to come and a time to go. This is the right time, for me, to leave politics and return to the justice system. Full statement here → pic.twitter.com/7I8AApqvs1
— Trey Gowdy (@TGowdySC) January 31, 2018
Gowdy was first elected to Congress in 2010 and was named chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last year after Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz resigned in June.
Several other GOP lawmakers have announced their retirement or plans not to seek reelection, but Gowdy’s was unexpected, as he did not face a serious electoral challenge. Gowdy’s district also went heavily for Donald Trump in the 2016 election and also for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, meaning it will likely stay in GOP hands.
Trey Gowdy not seeking re-election – that marks the 34 GOP House member not running for reelection in 2018. I'd say the rats are jumping ship but that's unfair to rats. #BlueWave2018
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) January 31, 2018
Gowdy made headlines this week by saying he supported Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible cooperation by the Trump campaign “100 percent.”
“I told my Republican colleagues, ‘Leave him the hell alone,’ and that’s still my advice,” Gowdy said on Fox News.
Despite this, Gowdy also pushed the Republican conspiracy theory that a “secret society” of federal law enforcement figures sought to undermine Trump — all of which was based on rather one rather innocuous text message.
Gowdy will most likely be remembered for leading the House’s committee to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack on U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, during which he came under fire from Democrats for attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. His investigation was heavily criticized by Democrats for using the investigation to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gowdy also took a leading role in investigating allegations the FBI wiretapped Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and questioned former FBI Director James Comey during the investigation into not prosecuting Clinton for her email server scandal.
Neither of Gowdy’s investigations, it should be noted, found any indication of wrongdoing by the FBI or Clinton.