UPDATE - It appears as though Rep. Fleming may have misconstrued comments Gowdy made in a closed-door meeting: “Trey said something like, ‘I have no ambition for leadership, want to do my job on the select committee, and long to return home to my family in South Carolina.’ But to construe that as a retirement announcement is a real stretch. I think he just said that he misses being away from his family,” another Republican member told Roll Call. A number of well-placed figures are also disputing the claim that he plans to retire after his current term. Time will tell.
When John Boehner stunned Washington with his decision to vacate the House Speakership and resign from Congress next month, disaffected conservatives began casting about for a more conservative alternative to replace the Ohio Republican. One by one, the biggest names that were floated announced that they weren't interested in the job -- from Jim Jordan of Ohio, to Jeb Hensarling of Texas, to Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. Gowdy, a well-liked former prosecutor known for his clear-eyed messaging and sharp, focused questioning of witnesses at hearings, also took a pass on seeking the position of House Majority Leader. Politico is reporting that Boehner has privately urged Gowdy to seek that leadership position. If conservative admirers of Gowdy's work weren't disappointed enough, there's word that the South Carolinian plans to leave Congress altogether after next year (via the Washington Examiner):
Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said Wednesday morning that Tea Party favorite Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., won't run for a fourth term, and instead plans to retire at the end of the current Congress to return to his home state. "Trey wants to go back to South Carolina, and God bless him for that," Fleming said on C-SPAN. When asked if that's what Gowdy has told other Republicans, Fleming confirmed it. "At the end of his term, yes," he said. "He plans to go back home, and he wants to finish his work on the Benghazi special committee. But he loves South Carolina and he loves his family, and he wants to go back and spend the rest of his life there." "He'll be sorely missed," he added.
It's worth mentioning that the Benghazi special committee -- without which Hillary Clinton's reckless email scheme would likely still be a secret -- is still on the job; Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to testify next month. Gowdy's office issued a non-denial denial to the report above, perhaps suggesting that Fleming may be right, even if he blabbed too soon:
Just emailed w/ @TGowdySC spox: "No he is not announcing anything regarding 2016."— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) September 30, 2015
If Fleming is correct, one wonders if Gowdy is leaving the political realm -- or might he might have other designs back home? Hmmm:
*If* Gowdy is retiring after this term, might he have his eyes on South Carolina's 2018 gubernatorial race? Haley is term-limited.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 30, 2015