Republican Trey Gowdy on Monday became the fourth Republican to challenge Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) in a primary next year, throwing a wrench in what was already expected to be a crowded field.

Gowdy, the 7th Circuit Solicitor, had been expected to run for state attorney general, which will be an open seat in 2010 as current Attorney General Henry McMaster (R) runs for governor. But Gowdy told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal that he "didn't feel led to run" for statewide office.

Instead, he poses perhaps the most formidable obstacle to Inglis as the incumbent seeks a sixth term--third consecutive--in Congress.

Inglis earned the ire of many conservatives in 2007 when he voted against the troop surge in Iraq.

Already running against him are businessman Andrew Smart, former state House candidate Christina Jeffrey and Air Force veteran Jim Lee. State Sen. David Thomas and former Greenville County Republican Party Chairman Steven Brown are also considering the race.

-Aaron Blake