GOP Rep. John Fleming: Trey Gowdy is retiring after this term
Gowdy’s office is denying it — sort of. Noting that he hasn’t made an “announcement” yet isn’t the same as saying he hasn’t made a decision yet, is it?
“No, he has not made any announcement about 2016,” Amanda Duvall, a Gowdy spokeswoman, said in an email…
A GOP member on Wednesday said Fleming likely misconstrued a comment Gowdy made Tuesday night at a House Republican Conference meeting.
“Trey said something like, ‘I have no ambition for leadership, want to do my job on the select committee, and long to return home to my family in South Carolina.’ But to construe that as a retirement announcement is a real stretch. I think he just said that he misses being away from his family,” the GOP member said.
I don’t know about that. Fleming seems pretty confident in his understanding, right down to the timeline (“at the end of his term”). If there was anything ambiguous about what Gowdy had said, either publicly in the conference meeting or privately to Fleming, would he seem as assured as he does here? It’s no small thing for one congressman to spill the beans about another’s looming retirement. Another reason to think Fleming’s right: Nikki Haley is term-limited as governor of South Carolina. The next election is in 2018 and Gowdy would be well positioned to run as a guy with national name recognition as a conservative firebrand and the chairman of the Benghazi committee that’s chasing Hillary. Maybe the plan is to quit Congress after three terms and then spend the next two years running for governor — precisely the same path that Mark Sanford followed earlier in his career. Gowdy’s a young guy too at just 51. If he succeeded Haley and built a good executive record, he’d be a credible presidential candidate circa 2024 or 2028.