Mr. Woodard said that if Mr. Gowdy succeeds as chairman of the select committee and a Republican wins the White House in 2016, the congressman could be at the top of the list of attorney general candidates.
"I've put a lot of kids through law school, and there's just some people who can do it and some people [who] can't," said Dave Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University who has served as an adviser to Mr. Gowdy. "And he's one that could. Extremely well-prepared but very effective in the courtroom. And that's where he built his reputation."