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S.C. Rep. Trey Gowdy wins endorsement to be chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

June 8, 2017 GMT

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy moved a step closer Thursday to becoming the next chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

It will make the South Carolina Republican the only member of the state delegation to helm a standing Congressional committee — and the first since the defeat of Budget Chairman John Spratt, a Democrat from the Rock Hill area, in 2010.

Gowdy, of Spartanburg, won support from the GOP Steering Committee, a 32-member panel made up of party leaders, appointees and representatives from across the full conference.

The next step is that all House Republicans will vote to ratify the steering committee’s recommendation this coming Tuesday.

In winning the endorsement over Oklahoma Republican Steve Russell, Gowdy is set to inherit leadership of a committee which he’s served on since first coming to Congress in 2011.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee is considered Congress’s “watchdog” over the White House, the various executive branch agencies and the District of Columbia, which is subject to federal control.

The panel has a history of fierce partisanship from both sides of the aisle, with each party playing a different role depending on whether a Democrat or Republican is president.

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor and state solicitor from Spartanburg, is used to navigating controversial and politically dicey waters. He became a household name as chairman of the now-disbanded committee to investigate the Sept. 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

At that time, Democrats accused Gowdy of leading a “witch hunt” against Hillary Clinton, who during the attack was secretary of state.

Some Republicans, meanwhile, praised him for trying to maintain integrity in a process that was growing more political by the day, including from Democrats and by members of his own party who said only the most damning indictment against Clinton would be sufficient.

Gowdy is expected to take over leadership of the committee as soon as current chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, relinquishes the posting. Chaffetz is due to leave Congress by June 30, reportedly to pursue a career in television.

Please check back for updates on this developing story.