There is no denying that the oversight perch is less fun under single-party rule. While previous past chairman (and fellow retiree) Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) made his name holding the Obama administration to account, Gowdy’s immediate predecessor Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) abruptly retired just a few months into 2017, spurning Congress for the greener pastures of cable TV.

Gowdy’s elevation was cheered by Republicans, and might have otherwise set him up for the House Judiciary Committee gavel next Congress, but the role of his committee has been relegated to that of a mere bystander as the real battles play out elsewhere. What Gowdy’s chairmanship might look like unencumbered by electoral politics will be interesting to see.