Trey Gowdy

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Trey Gowdy
Trey Gowdy, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Bob Inglis
Chairman of the House Benghazi Committee
Assumed office
May 8, 2014
Preceded by Position established
Personal details
Born Harold Watson Gowdy III
(1964-08-22) August 22, 1964 (age 52)
Greenville, South Carolina, United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Terri Gowdy
Children Abigail and Watson
Alma mater Baylor University
University of South Carolina
Religion Southern Baptist
Website House website

Harold Watson "Trey" Gowdy III (born August 22, 1964) is an American attorney, politician and former prosecutor. He currently serves as the U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 4th congressional district. He is a member of the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party.[1] His district includes much of the Upstate region of South Carolina, including Greenville and Spartanburg.

Before his election to Congress, Gowdy was the district attorney for the state's Seventh Judicial Circuit, comprising Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties. From 1994 to 2000, he was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina.

In 2014, Gowdy became chairman of a House Select Committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attack.

Early life, education[edit]

Trey Gowdy was born on August 22, 1964, in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the son of Novalene (née Evans) and Harold Watson "Hal" Gowdy, Jr, MD.[2][3] He grew up in Spartanburg,[4] where as a young man, he delivered newspapers for the local daily, and worked at the community market.[5] Gowdy graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1982. Gowdy earned a B.A. in history from Baylor University in 1986. He was a member of Kappa Omega Tau at Baylor. In 1989, Gowdy earned a J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina. While at law school, he was a member of the scholastic honor society "Wig and Robe."[5]

Gowdy married Terri (née Dillard)[6] Gowdy, a former Miss Spartanburg and 2nd runner up for Miss South Carolina.[7] The couple have two children, Watson and Abigail. Terri Dillard Gowdy is a teacher's aide in the Spartanburg School District.[8]

Legal career[edit]

Gowdy served as clerk for John P. Gardner on the South Carolina Court of Appeals as well as for United States District Court Judge George Ross Anderson, Jr.. He then went into private practice before being selected as a U.S. federal prosecutor in April 1994. Gowdy would later be 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[9] in the Republican primary. He ran unopposed in the general election. Gowdy was reelected in 2004 and 2008, both times unopposed. During his tenure, he appeared in two episodes of "Forensic Files," as well as Dateline NBC and SCETV.[10] He prosecuted the full set of criminal cases, including seven 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.[11]

Congress[edit]

2010[edit]

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 taking stances that were perceived to be more moderate than those he'd taken when he'd first represented the district from 1993 to 1999, specifically and in large part regarding climate change.[12] He drew five Republican challengers, including Gowdy. Like most of the challengers, Gowdy ran well to Inglis' right.[12] 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 27% of the vote. Jim Lee got 14%, State Senator David L. Thomas got 13%, and former Historian of the United States House of Representatives Christina Jeffrey was last with 7% of the vote.[13][14]

In the run-off election, Gowdy defeated Inglis 70%–30%.[15] The 4th district was so heavily considered Republican, that it was widely presumed Gowdy was assured a seat in that class of Congress.[16] Gowdy defeated Democratic nominee Paul Corden 63%–29%.[17]

2012[edit]

Gowdy ran for reelection to a second term against Democrat Deb Morrow.[18] In the wake of the 2010 census, the redrawing of the district amended and cut sizable portions out of Gowdy's home county of Spartanburg County out of the district, while leaving all of Greenville County within the district. Gowdy was initially quoted as being "disappointed" with the version, despite the plan leaving the 4th district relatively a Republican stronghold. Regardless, the last and final map moved a portion of Greenville County to the 3rd district; and left all of Spartanburg County in the 4th district. Gowdy was quoted as being "pleased" with this version, as Greenville and Spartanburg counties remained linked. Roll Call rated his district as Safe Republican in 2012.[19] Gowdy would later win re-election to a second term in 2014. He would defeat his competitor Morrow 65%–34%.[20]

2014[edit]

Gowdy ran for reelection again in 2014. His only opponent was Libertarian Curtis E. McLaughlin.[21] He was reelected with 85.2% of the popular vote.

2016[edit]

In the November 2016 election, Gowdy faces Democrat Chris Fedalei, a 26-year-old attorney who has never held elected office.[22]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Tenure[edit]

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.[23] He also opposed the 2011 defense authorization bill, citing concerns about the prospect of Americans being detained without trial on national security grounds.[24] In December 2010, he told Congressional Quarterly that he would support a measure only if its sponsor could demonstrate that the Constitution gave the government the power to act in a particular realm.[11]

Gowdy worked on the Committee on Judiciary, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Gowdy frequently speaks on the floor of the House on issues ranging from Operation 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.[25]

An ardent social conservative, Gowdy considers himself "pro-life plus." He not only believes "in the sanctity of life," but argues that "the strategy should be broader than waiting for the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade."[26]

Trey Gowdy signed the Contract From America, which aims to defund, repeal, and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, limit United States Environmental Protection Agency regulations, enact a reform of the federal tax code, pass a balanced budget amendment, and end earmarks.[27][28]

Legislation[edit]

On March 4, 2014, Gowdy introduced the ENFORCE the Law Act of 2014 (H.R. 4138; 113th Congress) into the House.[29] The bill would give the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate both the standing to sue the President of the United States in a federal district court to clarify a federal law (that is, seek a declaratory judgment) in the event that the executive branch is not enforcing the law.[30][31] House Republicans argued that the bill was necessary because the Obama Administration refused to enforce the laws.[32] H.R. 4138 has passed the House but has yet to become law.

In total, Gowdy has sponsored 11 bills, including:[33]

112th Congress (2011–2012)[edit]

  • H.R. 1894, a bill to permit a guilty plea made by the accused prior to the announcement of the sentence in a capital offense trial before a military commission to form the basis of an agreement to reduce the maximum approved sentence, introduced May 13, 2011
  • H.R. 2076, a bill to allow the Attorney General to assist with investigation incidents in which three or more people are killed or are targeted to be killed, introduced June 1, 2011, signed into law January 14, 2013
  • H.R. 6620, a bill to authorize the United States Secret Service to protect former presidents, their spouses, and their children under the age of 16, introduced November 30, 2012, signed into law January 10, 2013

113th Congress (2013–2014)[edit]

  • H.R. 652, a bill to prohibit non-humanitarian relief foreign aid from being sent to countries that engage in state-sanctioned persecution of religious minorities, prevent equal access to education on the basis of gender, race, or ethnicity, or do not accept the return of nationals who have been extradited, introduced February 13, 2013
  • H.R. 5401, a bill to prohibit Libyan nationals from engaging in aviation maintenance, flight operations, or nuclear-related studies or training inside the United States, introduced September 8, 2014

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Gowdy is married to Terri Gowdy, with whom he has two children.

Presidential politics[edit]

In July 2015, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump named Gowdy as a possible nominee for Attorney General in a Trump cabinet.[35] In late December 2015, Gowdy endorsed Senator Marco Rubio for president, praising him as a rarity among elected officials for having kept his campaign promises.[36] Gowdy's endorsement strained his relations with Donald Trump's campaign; Trump said that Gowdy had "failed miserably on Benghazi".[37][38] Rubio withdrew from the race in March, after losing his home state of Florida to Trump. Two months later, on May 20, Gowdy endorsed Trump for president, admitting that while he was a "Rubio guy", he would support the presumptive Republican nominee.[39]

Electoral history[edit]

South Carolina's 4th congressional district primary, 2010[40]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Trey Gowdy 34,103 39.22
Republican Bob Inglis (incumbent) 23,877 27.46
Republican Jim Lee 11,854 13.63
Republican David L. Thomas 11,073 12.74
Republican Christina Fawcett Jeffrey 6,041 6.95
Total votes 86,948 100.00
South Carolina's 4th congressional district primary runoff, 2010[41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Trey Gowdy 51,541 70.18
Republican Bob Inglis (incumbent) 21,898 29.82
Total votes 73,439 100.00
South Carolina's 4th congressional district election, 2010[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Trey Gowdy 137,586 63.45
Democratic Paul Corden 62,438 28.79
Constitution Dave Edwards 11,059 5.10
Libertarian Rick Mahler 3,010 1.39
Green Faye Walters 2,564 1.18
Write-ins 181 0.08
Total votes 216,838 100.00
Republican hold
South Carolina 4th congressional district election, 2012[43][44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Trey Gowdy (Incumbent) 173,201 64.90
Democratic Deb Morrow 89,964 33.71
Green Jeff Sumerel 3,390 1.27
Write-In Candidates 329 0.12
Total votes 266,884 100.0
South Carolina's 4th Congressional District, 2014[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Trey Gowdy (Incumbent) 126,452 84.84
Libertarian Curtis E McLaughlin Jr 21,969 14.74
Write-Ins 628 0.42
Total votes 149,049 100
Republican hold

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott, Eugene. "Mia Love: Gowdy for majority leader". CNN. CNN. Retrieved September 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Circuit Solicitor: Trey Gowdy Bio". Spartanburgcounty.org. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Harold Watson "Trey" Gowdy III". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ McCutcheon, Michael; Barone, Chuck (2013). 2014 Almanac of American Politics. The University of Chicago Press. 
  5. ^ a b Google News
  6. ^ House.gov
  7. ^ Heritageaction.com
  8. ^ Trey Gowdy. Gpo.gov. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  9. ^ Spencer, Janet S. (April 29, 2000). "Gowdy spins web campaign". Herald-Journal. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Meet Trey". Trey Gowdy. Retrieved May 9, 2012. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b Congressional Quarterly Guide to the New Congress, 2010[dead link]
  12. ^ a b Kraushaar, Josh (April 7, 2009). "Inglis faces fight from the right". Politico.com. Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  13. ^ "SC District 4 – R Primary Race". Our Campaigns. June 8, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  14. ^ McArdle, John. Inglis Forced Into Runoff. Congressional Quarterly. June 8, 2010.
  15. ^ "SC District 4 – R Runoff Race". Our Campaigns. June 22, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  16. ^ McArdle, John. Gowdy Crushes Inglis in S.C. Runoff, CQ Politics, June 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "SC District 4 Race". Our Campaigns. November 2, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ Miller, Joshua (August 2, 2011). "Race Ratings: GOP Strengthens Grip on South Carolina". Roll Call. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  20. ^ "2014 Election Results Senate: Live Map by State, Midterm Midterm Races Races". Politico. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ Shain, Andrew (March 26, 2014). "ELECTION 2014 (updated): Who's filed for statewide, State House, Congressional offices". The State. Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
  22. ^ Chris Lavender (March 4, 2016). "Spartanburg native Chris Fedalei to challenge Gowdy". Retrieved July 24, 2016. 
  23. ^ Sherman, Jake (May 13, 2012). "Right wants more from John Boehner". Politico. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  24. ^ Brady, Jessica (December 29, 2011). "Detainee Provisions Still Cause for Concern". Roll Call. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ Drury, Shawn (March 1, 2012). "Rep. Trey Gowdy Awarded by Club for Growth". Mauldin Patch. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Issues". Gowdy For Congress. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Contract From America". Contract From America. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Project Vote Smart". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  29. ^ "H.R. 4138 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  30. ^ "H.R. 4138 – CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  31. ^ Kiefer, Francine (March 12, 2014). "Can House Republicans make Obama enforce laws?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  32. ^ Associated Press (March 12, 2014). "House backs bill to sue president over laws". Washington Post. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Representative Gowdy's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved December 13, 2014. 
  34. ^ House.gov
  35. ^ Weiss, Rusty (July 29, 2015). "Trump Just Announced Possible Cabinet Members That Will Make Liberals Cringe". Headline Politics. Retrieved July 27, 2016. 
  36. ^ Collins, Eliza (December 29, 2015). "Trey Gowdy endorses Marco Rubio". Politico. 
  37. ^ "Scorned Trump Team Turns On Man They Once Loved". The Daily Beast. December 28, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Marco Rubio is scoring some big endorsements. But do they matter?". MSNBC. December 30, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Gowdy endorses Trump". thehill.com. May 20, 2016. 
  40. ^ SC District 4 - R Primary. Our Campaigns.
  41. ^ SC District 4 - R Runoff. Our Campaigns.
  42. ^ "Election Results : 2012 General Election : South Carolina State Election Commission". Scvotes.org. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Election Statistics – US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Karen Haas, Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  44. ^ The votes for the Democratic candidate includes votes cast for the candidate who also ran under the Working Families Party ticket
  45. ^ "South Carolina Election Commission Official Results". West Virginia Secretary of State. November 4, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob Inglis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th congressional district

2011–present
Incumbent
New office Chairman of the House Benghazi Committee
2014–present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Paul Gosar
United States Representatives by seniority
249th
Succeeded by
Morgan Griffith