The Benghazi show comes to a close: Trey Gowdy announces he's leaving Congress

"I enjoy our justice system more than our political system," says one of the most political members of Congress

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 31, 2018 1:52PM (EST)

Trey Gowdy (Getty/Scott Olson)
Trey Gowdy (Getty/Scott Olson)

The congressman who became a national figure by taking the lead during the Benghazi hearing, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, is announcing that he is not running for reelection in 2018.

"I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office," Gowdy wrote in a statement posted to his official Twitter account on Wednesday. He instead declared that he would be pursuing a career in the justice system, claiming, "I enjoy our justice system more than our political system." He also claimed that he timed his announcement so that it would give other potential candidates roughly six weeks to decide on whether they would like to run, before the filing period opens up in his district.

Gowdy's decision is more bad news for the GOP. Overall, there have been 40 Republican members of the House who have announced that they will retire after the 2018 midterm elections (not including Gowdy), according to Bloomberg. By contrast, only 16 Democratic members of the House have made similar announcements. What's more, the Republican leadership in the House is being gutted, thanks to retirements.

Gowdy is perhaps best known as the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which became the source of controversy after its investigation into Hillary Clinton failed to produce any lasting or damaging results against the then-presidential candidate. At the same time, Gowdy criticized the Trump administration in March for claiming that Trump Tower had been wiretapped by President Barack Obama, saying, "I don't think the FBI is the Obama team and I don't think the men and women who are career prosecutors at DOJ belong to any team other than a blindfolded woman holding a pair of scales."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Benghazi Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Trey Gowdy