|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th district
January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Bob Inglis|
August 22, 1964 |
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.
|Alma mater||Baylor University
University of South Carolina,
Harold Watson "Trey" Gowdy III (born August 22, 1964) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 4th congressional district since 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes much of the Upstate region, including Greenville and Spartanburg.
Before his election to Congress, he was the solicitor (district attorney) for the state's Seventh Judicial Circuit, comprising Spartanburg and Cherokee counties. From 1994 to 2000, he was a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney's Office in South Carolina.
Early life and education 
Gowdy was born in Greenville, but grew up in Spartanburg and currently calls Spartanburg home. He is the son of Novalene (née Evans) and Dr. Harold Watson "Hal" Gowdy, Jr. Trey graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1982. He earned a B.A. in history from Baylor University in 1986. He was a member of Kappa Omega Tau, a service/social Fraternity while at Baylor University. He earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989. In law school, he was a member of the scholastic honor society "Wig and Robe."
Legal career 
Following law school, he clerked for the late John P. Gardner on the South Carolina Court of Appeals and United States District Court Judge Ross Anderson. He then went into private practice before becoming a federal prosecutor in April 1994. He was awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for the successful prosecution of J. Mark Allen, one of “America’s Most Wanted” suspects.
In February 2000, he left the United States Attorney’s Office to run for 7th Circuit Solicitor. He defeated incumbent Solicitor Holman Gossett in the Republican primary. No other party even put up a candidate, ensuring his election in November. He was reelected in 2004 and 2008, both times unopposed. During his tenure, he appeared on “Forensic Files” twice, as well as Dateline NBC and SCETV. He prosecuted the full gamut of criminal cases including 7 death penalty cases.
When the state faced a budget crunch that forced many employees to go on unpaid furloughs, Gowdy funneled part of his campaign account into the solicitor's budget so his staff could keep working.
U.S. House of Representatives 
In the summer of 2009, Gowdy announced that he would challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Bob Inglis in the Republican primary for South Carolina's 4th congressional district. Inglis, who got a 93% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, angered the conservative wing of the Republican party by supporting cap and trade as a result of his belief that global warming is man made. He drew five Republican challengers, and Gowdy was one of them. In the June 2010 primary, Gowdy ranked first with 39% of the vote, short of the 50% majority threshold to win outright and avoid a run-off. Inglis received just 27% of the vote. Jim Lee got 14%, State Senator David Thomas got 13%, and Christina Fawcett was last with 7% of the vote.
In the run-off election, Gowdy defeated Inglis 70%-30%. The 4th is so heavily Republican that it was widely presumed Gowdy had assured himself of a seat in Congress. Gowdy defeated Democratic nominee Paul Corden 63%-29%.
Gowdy ran for reelection against Democrat Deb Morrow. Gowdy was slightly disappointed when initial versions cut part of his home county, Spartanburg County, out of the district (though the final map moved part of Greenville County to the 3rd and left all of Spartanburg County in the 4th). However, he was satisfied because Greenville and Spartanburg Counties remained together. Roll Call rated his district as Safe Republican in 2012. Gowdy won re-election to a second term, defeating Morrow 65%-34%.
Gowdy considers himself to be a constitutional conservative. In August 2011 during the 2011 United States debt ceiling crisis, Gowdy opposed Speaker John Boehner’s debt limit bill, and he voted against the final debt ceiling agreement. He also opposed the 2011 defense authorization bill, citing concerns about the prospect of Americans being detained without trial on national security grounds. In December 2010, he told Congressional Quarterly that he will only support a measure if its sponsor can demonstrate that the Constitution gives the government the power to act in a particular realm.
Gowdy worked on the Committee on Judiciary, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Gowdy developed a reputation as a tough questioner and frequently speaks on the floor of the House on issues ranging from Fast and Furious to his support for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
In 2012, he received the Defender of Economic Freedom award from the fiscally conservative 501(c)4 organization Club for Growth. The award is given to the members of Congress who have the year's highest ranking, according to the Club for Growth's metrics. Gowdy scored 97 out of 100, and was one of 34 congressmen given the award.
Gowdy considers himself "pro-life plus", meaning that he believes "in the sanctity of life" and that "the strategy should be broader than waiting for the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade."
In October 2012, the Middle Class Advocacy groups Voter Punch and The Campaign for America's Future gave Gowdy an 'F'. By the groups' measures, Gowdy received a 7 percent. The 2012 voter guide rates members of Congress on key votes that symbolize how responsive they have been to the interests of the middle class.
Committee assignments 
- Committee on Education and the Workforce
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Personal life 
Gowdy and his wife Terri have two children: Watson and Abigail. Watson is a sophomore in college and Abigail is a 10th grader in public school in Spartanburg County. Terri Dillard Gowdy is a teacher's aide in Spartanburg School District 6. Mrs. Gowdy is a graduate of Converse College with a double degree in accounting and art. She was a former Miss Spartanburg and 2nd runner-up Miss South Carolina. The Gowdys also have three dogs: Judge, Jury and Bailiff in honor of his former job as a prosecutor. Gowdy has three sisters: Laura, Caroline and Elizabeth, and 4 nieces, and 4 nephews.
- "Circuit Solicitor: Trey Gowdy Bio". Spartanburgcounty.org. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- "Harold Watson "Trey" Gowdy III". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Spencer, Janet S. (April 29, 2000). "Gowdy spins web campaign". Herald-Journal. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- "Meet Trey". Trey Gowdy. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Congressional Quarterly Guide to the New Congress, 2010
- Seitz-Wald, Alex (November 18, 2010). "Republican Rep. Bob Inglis Blasts GOP For Denying Global Warming". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- "SC District 4 - R Primary Race". Our Campaigns. June 8, 2010. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- McArdle, John. Inglis Forced Into Runoff. Congressional Quarterly. June 8, 2010.
- "SC District 4 - R Runoff Race". Our Campaigns. June 22, 2010. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- McArdle, John. Gowdy Crushes Inglis in S.C. Runoff, CQ Politics, June 22, 2010.
- "SC District 4 Race". Our Campaigns. November 2, 2010. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Miller, Joshua (August 2, 2011). "Race Ratings: GOP Strengthens Grip on South Carolina". Roll Call. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Sherman, Jake (13 May 2012). "Right wants more from John Boehner". Politico. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
- Brady, Jessica (December 29, 2011). "Detainee Provisions Still Cause for Concern". Roll Call. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Drury, Shawn (March 1, 2012). "Rep. Trey Gowdy Awarded by Club for Growth". Mauldin Patch. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- "Issues". Gowdy For Congress. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Contract From America". Contract From America. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Project Vote Smart". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Middle Class Advocacy Groups Give Rep. Trey Gowdy an 'F'". Retrieved 22 Oct 2012.
- "Meet Trey". Trey Gowdy For Congress. Trey Gowdy For Congress. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
- Congressman Trey Gowdy official U.S. House site
- Trey Gowdy for Congress official campaign site
- Profile at Spartanburg County Government site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th congressional district
|United States order of precedence|
as Member of the House of Representatives from Arizona's 4th district
|Order of Precedence of the United States||Succeeded by
as Member of the House of Representatives from Arkansas's 2nd district
|Representatives to the 112th United States Congress from South Carolina (ordered by seniority)|
|112th||Senate: L. Graham | J. DeMint||House: J. Clyburn | J. Wilson | J. Duncan | T. Gowdy | M. Mulvaney | T. Scott|