January 31, 2018
Republican Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Democrat Bob Brady of Pennsylvania announced Wednesday that they will retire at the end of the year. This brings to 49 the number of current members not seeking reelection. 34 of those are Republicans, while 15 are Democrats.
Gowdy, in his 4th term, chairs the House Oversight Committee, and is most well-known for chairing the Benghazi investigation. His 4th district includes much of Greenville and Spartanburg in the northwest corner of the state. Gowdy won reelection in 2016 by 36 points, while Donald Trump won here by 26 points over Hillary Clinton. The district is expected to remain in Republican hands.
Brady, in his 11th term, has been shadowed by an FBI investigation into a payment his campaign made to a primary opponent in 2012. Brady was not charged, but a political consultant for the congressman pleaded guilty to lying about the payment. He represents Pennsylvania's 1st district, which is one of the most Democratic in the country. Both Brady and Clinton won here by more than 60 points in 2016. The district primarily runs along the Delaware River from Northeast Philadelphia to Chester. It will likely be redrawn if a recent court ruling is upheld.
Brady is the 5th announced departure among the state's 17 current members. Pennsylvania's 18th district is vacant, and will be filled by a special election on March 13th. Gowdy is the first 2018 retirement from South Carolina's congressional delegation.