House Benghazi Committee Chairman, Trey Gowdy (R-SC), participates in a news conference with fellow Committee Republicans after the release of the Committee's Benghazi report on Capitol Hill June 28, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Rep. Gowdy not running for re-election
01:31 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Rep. Trey Gowdy isn’t interested in filling a vacancy on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a source close to the South Carolina Republican.

Gowdy fueled speculation Wednesday that he might be seeking a seat on the federal bench when he announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of his current term and return to the justice system. The announcement came the same day that a vacancy opened on the 4th Circuit.

White House counsel Don McGahn has had an ongoing conversation with Gowdy over the past year about a potential judgeship. South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott have also lobbied the White House to back a Gowdy nomination, the source said. But Gowdy, according to the source, said he wasn’t interested.

Gowdy’s announcement made him the latest Republican committee chairman to announce retirement ahead of midterm elections that are seeing a spike in Republicans headed for the exit. Unlike many other members, however, Gowdy was not facing a difficult re-election campaign in 2018.

Gowdy’s name surfaced as a potential choice last May in the wake of Trump’s decision to fire James Comey as FBI director. Gowdy took himself out of the running, and said in a statement at the time that he had told Attorney General Jeff Sessions he would not be the right choice to take over the bureau.

CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Eli Watkins contributed to this report.