House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., announced Wednesday he is retiring from Congress.
“I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office; instead I will be returning to the justice system,” he said in a statement. “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. As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding.”
Gowdy was elected to serve South Carolina's 4th Congressional District in 2010 after a career in the justice system, to which he plans to return.
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
The South Carolina congressman said he decided to announce his decision not to seek re-election to give those interested in running for his seat “ample time to reflect on the decision.”
"Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to the people of South Carolina for the privilege of representing them in the House of Representatives. The Upstate of South Carolina has an incredible depth and breadth of assets including numerous women and men capable of representing us,” he said. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve in the people's House and-prior to Congress-to advocate on behalf of justice in our court systems.”
In addition to leading the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Gowdy served at the helm of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which investigated the events surrounding the 2012 terror attacks.
Republicans are facing a string of retirements as they try to defend their congressional majorities in this year's midterm elections. Gowdy is the ninth Republican committee chairman who will not seek re-election.
Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, praised Gowdy's service both before he arrived in Congress and during his tenure in the House. He also said he is optimistic Republicans will keep Gowdy's seat.
“Trey Gowdy exemplifies the persona of a public servant. His tenure in the justice system allowed him to bring a deep breadth of knowledge to Congress on the importance of fully prosecuting those who commit violent crimes, while keeping victims' rights intact. His commitment to his constituents and victims across the country is unmatched,” Stivers said in a statement. “He will be sorely missed in Congress, and I wish him and his family success in their future endeavors. The NRCC is confident this seat will stay solidly in Republican control in November.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee slammed Gowdy's time in Congress, and specifically his role in investigating the Benghazi attacks.
"Rep. Gowdy's tenure in Congress made a mockery of congressional oversight and his eagerness to use the deaths of brave Americans overseas in service of his partisan, political goals is a dark and shameful chapter in the history of the House of Representatives," DCCC deputy communications director Patrick Burgwinkle said in a statement.