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U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. File/Andrew Harnik/AP 

Retiring South Carolina congressman Trey Gowdy has insisted he's done with politics, but it turns out he'd be willing to make an exception for best friend, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott.

"I will get back in politics if Tim Scott runs for president and he says, 'Look, I need you to go to Iowa or New Hampshire to knock on doors,'" the exiting House Oversight Committee chairman told Fox News on Wednesday.

In his one-on-one interview with Martha MacCallum, Gowdy added he would also be willing to campaign for U.S. Rep. John Radcliffe, R-Texas, if he wanted to run for governor of Texas.

"But you'll never see me on the ballot again," Gowdy said.

In January, the Spartanburg Republican shocked political watchers when he announced he would not seek re-election for his 4th Congressional District seat after serving four terms.

In Wednesday's interview, he reiterated he is at peace with that decision, even though he said he was approached about staying in public life, including filling vacancies on the South Carolina federal bench.

"Lindsey and Tim laid it right in front of me," he said, referring to South Carolina's two Republican senators, Scott and Lindsey Graham.

Gowdy said he spoke with his wife about it and ultimately decided to turn it down because his wife pointed out he would be lonely.

He said Graham called him, befuddled by his decision, saying, "You've got to be kidding. This is what you've always wanted."

Gowdy said Don McGahn, President Trump's former official lawyer, also called and asked him if he was sure about turning down a federal judgeship.

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scott gowdy unified seacoast church.jpg

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (center) and Congressman Trey Gowdy had both serious and light-hearted moments at a First Wednesday service at Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant with Pastor Josh Surratt on April 4, 2018. The South Carolina Republicans have written a book about their unlikely friendship and how they see it as the key to reconciliation efforts at a divided time in our nation's history. Wade Spees/Staff

In recent years, Gowdy has been considered a rising Republican star. The former federal prosecutor saw his national political profile rise during the Benghazi consulate attack investigation.

His friendship with Scott is also well-documented. In 2016, the political pair were reportedly considering a joint run for governor and lieutenant governor in 2018. That run did not materialize.

In 2017, Gowdy also partnered with Scott to write book about how unexpected friendships like theirs could be the key to reconciliation during a deeply polarizing time in America.

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Their book "Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country" was published in March.

Gowdy said he'd like for the second book they write to be focused on Scott's life story and how he came to hold his political beliefs, but he said Scott wants him to focus on something else.

"Tim wants me to write a book about how to ask questions, how to elicit the truth with asking questions. And I want him to write a book about his life and how his upbringing influences his political orthodoxy," Gowdy said, later confirming the duo plans to teach a class together.

Scott has denied he has interest in running for president, but earlier this year he visited Iowa and New Hampshire — two early presidential primary states.

Though Gowdy is leaving office when his term expires, he will depart as something of a conservative viral video star. Clips of his fierce interrogations, ranging from his questioning of IRS officials in 2013 to his grilling of former FBI Director James Comey about Hillary Clinton's email server scandal, have racked up millions of views.

Gowdy was also reportedly on the short list of candidates last year as the White House was considering who should be the next FBI director.

But now, Gowdy said he's more focused on two things: "To just be a better husband, a better father."

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.