Rep. Trey Gowdy made it clear Tuesday afternoon he will not be running for majority leader in the upcoming House GOP leadership elections.
The South Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Select Committe on Benghazi confirmed to reporters he was not in the game as he made his way to the floor for a vote series. “I’m staying on the Benghazi Committee,” Gowdy said. “Period. Exclamation point.”
The former federal prosecutor explained he would not be able to serve in both capacities if he were elected majority leader.
Gowdy was flanked by fellow South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney, who added, “He told me he was out 100 percent.”
Early Tuesday, Gowdy received endorsements from House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason and Chaffetz, R-Utah; Reps. Mia Love, R-Utah; and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
But Mulvaney, who called Gowdy “his best friend” threw cold water on the rumors while addressing reporters in a hallway scrum, and later posted about it on Facebook.
Chaffetz insisted later in the day he had spoken to Gowdy “as recently a few minutes ago.”
“Trey Gowdy is not the kind of person who is gonna go out and overtly campaign for it,” Chaffetz told reporters. “But if the conference rallies behind him, I think he would reluctantly serve, and I and a lot of others believe that he would do the best job of uniting the conference and making the case to the American people.”
The field to replace Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in the event he succeeds Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, remains, at least officially, at two: Budget Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.