South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy (R) is being considered as chairmanship of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, whether he wants to be or not. According to reports, Republicans are expected to give him the job even though he hasn’t expressed a desire to run for the position.
The Republican Steering Committee must choose a replacement for retiring Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) before his departure June 30th, and reportedly they will meet this week to do so.
With the conservative Freedom Caucus pushing for someone of their choosing to take the position, party leadership may look to Gowdy as a compromise. Gowdy may be one of the only non-Freedom Caucus lawmakers members of the group will endorse.
Gowdy is said to be aligned with Republican leadership and has the Freedom Caucus’s respect. According to caucus member Rep. Paul Gosar from Arizona, Gowdy “is tried, tested and exactly what the committee needs at this time.”
Gowdy, who currently sits on both the Oversight and Intelligence committee and the Judiciary Committee, is not a definite shoe-in, however. Some conservative members of the committee reportedly feel that it would be unfair to select Gowdy since other candidates have shown interest in the position and also have the needed credentials.
Ohio’s Rep. Jim Jordan (R), who is more senior on the committee than Gowdy, was a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus. With more than a half-dozen caucus members part of the Oversight Committee, he would have had support.
Jordan doesn’t have party leadership support, though. Jordans’ spokesman, Darin Miller, said they didn’t believe the steering committee would select Jordan due to his “willingness to stand up to leaders in both political parties.”
Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who is also on the Oversight Committee, said he thought Jordan saw the selection as “already decided” and didn’t want to fight a losing battle. Sanford was interested in the post as well, though he would’ve preferred Jordan to hold the position. He concurred with Jordan’s assessment and also didn’t run for the job, saying “you don’t get into races you can’t win.”
According to some reports, Freedom Caucus members say the steering committee is only pretending to consider other candidates, but they’ll ultimately give the position to Gowdy.
Democrats on the committee, like the committee’s ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md), who worked with Gowdy on the Select Committee on Benghazi, and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.),the committee’s second ranking Democrat, also believe Gowdy’s selection is certain. Connolly said that Gowdy has “a lot of potential.”
Gowdy commented on the potential appointment via his spokewoman, Amanda Gonzalez. His statement read:
“Congressman Gowdy, who has served on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee since 2011, has enjoyed working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle conducting oversight consistent with branch integrity and looking for ways to reform the institutions of government. He will continue to work with his colleagues regardless of what position he holds.”
As part of the Judiciary committee, Gowdy is part of the Congressional investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
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