Gowdy Gunning for Oversight Chairman

South Carolina Republican would succeed Chaffetz

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy led the select committee that investigated a terrorist attack in Benghazi while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A spokeswoman for Rep. Trey Gowdy said Thursday he is exploring a bid for chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee once its current gavel-holder leaves Congress next month.

“It is fair to say he is considering it,” the spokeswoman said.“Rep. Gowdy is talking to members in the conference about the qualities they believe are most important for the next chairman to possess.”

The current chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who had previously indicated he was not running for re-election for his congressional seat, has also opted to cut his term short. His last day in Washington is June 30.

[Chaffetz Departure Opens Coveted Chairmanship]

The Utah Republican’s departure has left GOP members of that committee jockeying for a chance to lead a powerful panel currently tasked with its own investigation into Russian meddling and the circumstances surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Rep. Jim Jordan, the most senior member of the committee who is in the Freedom Caucus, said he is also considering making a run for the post. Jordan said he recognized it would be a long shot to clear the Steering Committee, since the conservative group does not always side with GOP leadership.

“We’ll see,” Jordan said.

The Ohio Republican ran for the chairmanship in 2014 against Chaffetz but lost a four-way race.

However, Jordan has a fan in Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who also serves on the committee and said he would support a bid by Jordan. The North Carolina Republican said he would not be seeking the gavel of the full committee.

Rep. Mark Sanford also came up as a possible contender. The South Carolina Republican, who is another Freedom Caucus member, would not confirm or deny his interest Thursday.

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriterGet breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.