South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy dropped a bombshell on Wednesday, announcing that he is not seeking re-election.
In a statement, Gowdy said he plans to leave politics altogether to return to working in 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. As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding,” said Gowdy, a former assistant U.S. attorney.
“There is no perfect time to make this announcement,” he continued. “But with filing opening in six weeks, it is important to give the women and men in South Carolina who might be interested in serving ample time to reflect on the decision.”
Gowdy is one of the most high-profile Republicans in the House. He took over as chairman on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last year and is a top member on the House Intelligence Committee.
On the Intelligence Committee, Gowdy helped craft a controversial memo alleging improper surveillance against a former Trump campaign adviser.
Gowdy becomes the ninth Republican to step down as chair of a congressional committee. Most recently, New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, announced he will retire from Congress.