Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has won the support of Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi and one of the most popular members of Congress among the restless GOP base.
“Marco is a rock solid conservative and a strong leader we can trust,” Gowdy said Saturday in a statement. “I look forward to campaigning in Iowa with him, and introducing my good friend to voters across the state.”
Gowdy will appear with the senator at six of his seven planned Iowa stops this week. It’s a major show of support from a Republican who had previously recoiled at the idea of making a 2016 endorsement and who had joked with colleagues like Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., for getting behind candidacies that went nowhere.
But in recent months, Gowdy had been flirting publicly with a Rubio endorsement. In September, Gowdy traveled far from his upstate South Carolina district to appear at a Rubio fundraiser near Dallas.
Rubio has rolled out a series of endorsements from conservative members of Congress who describe his appeal with similar language. Few if any have the appeal of Gowdy, who defeated an incumbent Republican in 2010 and became one of the party’s most relied-upon interrogators in congressional hearings.
His 2014 appointment to lead the Benghazi panel won atypical, universal praise. That committee’s struggle to find a “smoking gun” with Hillary Clinton’s fingerprints has not cooled conservative ardor.
Gowdy’s frustration with Washington, and his interest in heading back home, is one of Congress’ worst-kept secrets. That gives his decision to stump for a GOP candidate even more impact.