Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyOvernight Health Care: House to begin hearings on bills to fight opioids | Groups rally against cuts to anti-drug office | Departures test insurance lobby’s clout | Amazon teaming up to cut health care costs Oversight chairman threatens to subpoena HHS for withholding information House Intel votes to make Nunes memo public MORE (R-S.C.), chairman of a key House committee, announced Wednesday that he will not run for reelection.
“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,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
Gowdy is the 10th GOP committee chairman to head for the exit this cycle.
“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,” he said.
Gowdy currently leads the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His departure will open up a plum position at the top of the committee’s GOP leadership — either the chairmanship or the ranking member position if the Democrats win control of the House after the 2018 midterms.
Before that, Gowdy led the House Select Committee on Benghazi, the controversial committee that investigated the 2012 deaths of four Americans stationed in Benghazi, Libya.
The news comes less than a month after Gowdy stepped down from his spot on the House Ethics Committee, citing the “challenging workload” of his committee assignments on top of his chairmanship.
Gowdy did not elaborate about his future plans outside of the reference to the “justice system.” He’s a former assistant U.S. attorney who served as a county solicitor in his home state of South Carolina before running for Congress in 2010.
Gowdy’s name has regularly been tossed around as a potential pick by the Trump administration to fill a judicial appointment. While he’s denied that speculation in the past, a vacancy on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over South Carolina, opened up just one day before Gowdy announced his retirement.
-Avery Anapol contributed. Updated at 12:40 p.m.
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