Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election later this year and will instead return to work in the justice system.
Gowdy, who is currently Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, served as a federal prosecutor before being elected to Congress in 2010.
“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,” Gowdy said in a statement.
He added, “As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding.”
Gowdy said he decided to make the announcement now in order to give potential candidates to succeed him ample time to reflect on the decision.
“The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us there is a time and a season for all things. There is a time to start and a time to end,” Gowdy said. “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.”
Gowdy made a name for himself as the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which investigated the terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.
In a statement, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, expressed confidence that Gowdy’s seat will stay solidly in Republican control in November.
President Donald Trump won South Carolina’s 4th congressional district by more than 20 points in the 2016 presidential election.
Meanwhile, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Deputy Communications Director Patrick Burgwinkle accused Gowdy of making a mockery of Congressional oversight.
“His eagerness to use the deaths of brave Americans overseas in service of his partisan, political goals is a dark and shameful chapter in the history of the House of Representatives,” Burgwinkle said in a statement.