Meadows says he plans to serve through the term — with an asterisk

Retiring Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsRepublicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles Trump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers MORE (R-N.C.) said Thursday that he plans to remain in Congress through the end of next year, though he left open the prospect of an early exit if other "possibilities" emerge.

"At this point I plan to serve out my term," he told reporters in the Capitol.

Yet Meadows did not rule out an early resignation if another position arises, emphasizing he would only do so if he's assured his district constituents "are properly served."

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He then suggested that they would be, predicting that between six and 12 candidates will jump into the race before the filing deadline, which is Friday at noon.

"A lot of very good candidates will file," he said.

Now in his fourth term, Meadows announced Thursday that he won't seek reelection next year. A former chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, he's also a close ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE, leading to no shortage of speculation that his retirement announcement was clearing the way for a position in the administration.

Meadows denied that he's secured any such position — "I have no plans," he said — but added rather cryptically that he intends "to help" his White House ally in some unspecified fashion.

"I plan to continue to help the president and the administration. And how we do that, and in what capacity, has yet to be defined," he said.

Asked if he might take a position with the administration or Trump's campaign, he left it wide open.

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"Those are certainly options, but it's not necessarily anything that I've had any serious discussions about," he said.

"Obviously, as you look to the future, you're always looking at what possibilities might be there. But I don't know of anything that's imminent."

There's one spot Meadows did rule out on Thursday.

"I'm not running for Senate," he said.