Gowdy’s office denies retirement

Gowdy’s office denies retirement
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Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyWhite House lawyer’s presence at FBI meetings sets off alarm bells for Dems Dems after briefing: 'No evidence' spy placed in Trump campaign House GOP sets three FBI interviews in Clinton probe MORE's office said he's not leaving Congress next year, despite comments at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that left many colleagues with the impression he was calling it quits.

The South Carolina Republican stood up in the room and gave an emotional speech, telling his colleagues he loved them all but that he would not be a candidate for leadership. Instead, Gowdy said he's staying focused on leading the committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, testifies before his panel next month.

“When I’m done with that, I’m going to return to South Carolina where my heart is,” Gowdy told his colleagues, according to a source in the room.

Many GOP lawmakers poured out of the Capitol meeting room, believing that Gowdy had just announced his retirement from Congress. In fact, Rep. John FlemingJohn Calvin FlemingCoast Guard suspends search for missing Ohio plane Freedom Caucus member to bring up bill on impeaching IRS chief GOP seeks to make it 52 MORE (R-La.) said on C-SPAN Wednesday morning that Gowdy told members he planned to retire.

“Trey wants to go back to South Carolina, and God bless him for that,” Fleming said on the program.

But others, including Rep. Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsRyan urges GOP unity after farm bill failure, discharge petition Overnight Finance: Deal on Dodd-Frank rollback | Trump pulls US out of Iran nuke deal | House votes to repeal auto-loan guidance, setting new precedent Ryan: GOP has deal on bill easing Dodd-Frank MORE (R-Texas), who was sitting in the first row at the meeting, said he did not interpret Gowdy's remarks as a farewell speech.

Asked if Gowdy was retiring from Congress, his spokeswoman Amanda Duvall, said, “No, he is not announcing anything regarding 2016.”

Gowdy has made no secret for his distaste for Washington, and the former federal prosecutor is believed to be eyeing a federal judgeship or the governor's office back home.