Gowdy to Headline Ernst’s Roast and Ride

GOP presidential candidates have attended event in the past, but few think Gowdy aspires to that

Sen. Joni Ernst, left, announced Rep. Trey Gowdy’s appearance at her annual event in a video posted Thursday. (Sen. Joni Ernst via YouTube)
Sen. Joni Ernst, left, announced Rep. Trey Gowdy’s appearance at her annual event in a video posted Thursday. (Sen. Joni Ernst via YouTube)
Posted March 23, 2018 at 8:28am

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst announced outgoing South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy will be the headlining guest at her annual Roast and Ride in Iowa.

Ernst made the announcement in a video posted on Thursday.

“I’m looking forward to coming to Iowa on June 9th and meeting some some fantastic Iowans and enjoy some delicious Iowa barbecue,” Gowdy says in the video.

Gowdy announced he was retiring from Congress in January after growing increasingly disenchanted since he came to the Hill in the 2010 Republican wave.

The South Carolina Republican rose to prominence — and earned the scorn of Democrats — as head of the House’s special committee investigating the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi in 2012.

Republicans viewed Gowdy as an impartial watchdog, while many Democrats saw the investigation as a partisan venture meant to undermine Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run, especially after it uncovered her use of a private email server.

Ernst’s Roast and Ride will begin with a 50-mile motorcycle trip from the Big Barn Harley Davidson in Des Moines and will end in Boone, the Des Moines Register reported.

Much as her Democratic predecessor Sen. Tom Harkin’s Steak Fry became a pilgrimage for national Democrats, Ernst’s Roast and Ride has become a marquee event for national Republicans who want to meet voters in the state that holds the first presidential contest.

The first Roast and Ride in 2015 featured multiple Republican presidential candidates, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham.

In 2016, then-presumptive nominee Donald Trump spoke at the event in the state he would carry that November. In 2017, the guest of honor was Vice President Mike Pence.

Gowdy has been quiet about his future, but despite his appearance in Iowa, few think he has aspirations for higher office. South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, one of Gowdy’s closest friends in Congress, recently said he did not think he would ever seek another political office. 

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