House Oversight Chair Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC) announcement on Wednesday that he will not seek reelection in 2018 coincided with a vacancy on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, prompting speculation that Gowdy would seek a federal judgeship upon leaving the House.
However, his spokeswoman put that chatter to rest in a statement revealing that Gowdy turned down the opportunity to become a federal judge last year.
“Rep. Gowdy was approached about a federal judgeship last year but turned down the opportunity. After he finishes his term, he plans to return to South Carolina to practice law,” Gowdy spokeswoman Amanda Gonzalez told TPM in a statement.
White House Counsel Don McGahn approached Gowdy about filling the open position on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers South Carolina, some time over the past few weeks, Politico reported Wednesday.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told South Carolina reporters in a conference call that he and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urged Gowdy to take the judgeship, but that Gowdy made clear he did not want the slot, according to the Greenville News.
Gowdy is the ninth Republican committee chairman to announce that he will not seek reelection in 2018. His departure as chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee follows Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) decision to leave the chairmanship and the House just last year.