It appears Republican congressman Trey Gowdy is simply ready to go home.
After his bombshell announcement Wednesday that he would not be seeking re-election in South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District, there was open speculation that the hard-hitting lawmaker was angling for a judicial appointment.
However, the South Carolina Republican reportedly turned down a potential appointment from Trump to serve on the federal bench.
Gowdy’s decision to retire from Congress came immediately after Judge Dennis Shedd of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals assumed senior-status, a type of semi-retirement where judges only take part in a handful of cases.
Reports also indicated that Gowdy was offered a federal judgeship last year.
The timing of the two retirements and the offer of a judgeship position prompted the belief that the Republican lawmaker would succeed Shedd in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, a Virginia-based federal court that covers part of South Carolina.
However, Rachel Bade, a congressional reporter for Politico, broke the story that Gowdy swatted away such an offer.
South Carolina GOP Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham had urged Gowdy to accept the position, but he bucked calls to do so. Instead, Gowdy wishes to practice law closer to home in order to spend more time with his family.
He is reportedly interested in co-writing a book with Scott, according to Politico.
Gowdy’s decision to walk away from Capitol Hill was a shock to many who believed he had a promising career in politics.
Republicans had even once considered him as a dark-horse candidate for speaker of the House.
The 53-year-old lawmaker — first elected to Congress in 2010 — was a rising star in the GOP. He currently chairs the House Oversight Committee and became a household name after leading the special House Benghazi Committee.
The Benghazi Committee’s inquiry helped lead to the discovery of Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a private email server for classified information.
However, many who know Gowdy personally saw that he was deeply unhappy with D.C. politics.
For years, he had joked about returning to South Carolina and resuming his legal career. Not one for attending GOP events or conferences, the Republican lawmaker had told colleagues he was unhappy with the partisan atmosphere in Washington and wished to spend more time with his wife.
On Wednesday, Gowdy officially pulled the plug on his political ambitions.
“I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office,” Gowdy said in a prepared statement. “(I)nstead I will be returning to 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.”
Before his election to Congress, Gowdy led a storied career in the legal field. After working in private practice, he was appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney in 1994 and won election as for 7th Circuit Solicitor in 2000.
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