Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz Won't Seek Re-Election in 2018

Jason Chaffetz on July 7, 2016 on Capitol Hill.

According to a statement posted to Chaffetz' public Facebook page, he has chose to leave public service and go back to working in the private sector, despite his stated confidence that he would have held onto his seat in next year's election. "I love my wife and I adore my kids", Chaffetz told Neil Cavuto on Wednesday. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. The longer you spend in Washington, the worse off you are; for every year there, it becomes that much tougher to get away from the DC stench in the minds (and noses) of Republican voters. Then again, Chaffetz would hardly be the first politician to rule out a political run, only to run for office anyway.

Chris Karpowitz, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University, said it is likely that Republicans more seasoned than Kidd such as Provo Mayor John Curtis or Evan McMullin, who ran for president as an anti-Donald Trump independent, would run.

Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub Jr. spoke to NPR on Monday and called on Chaffetz to do more.

Chaffetz won the Utah House seat after defeating fellow Republican Chris Cannon in a primary run-off election. Most of the ire was about Trump, and Chaffetz said he would not use his post as oversight chairman to go on a "fishing expedition" against the administration. Washingtonian has a good run-down of potential new heads of House Oversight, like Freedom Caucus-er Jim Jordan of Ohio.

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"That is absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong".

While Chaffetz's decision removes a high-profile foe of House Democrats, the seat he will vacate does not appear ripe for pickup.

"Congressman Chaffetz has represented Utah in the United States House of Representatives with distinction, and I have appreciated working with him over the last eight years on issues vital to our state". Trump's approval rating was just 47 percent in the most recent poll in the state, a poor showing in a place as conservative as Utah.

Chaffetz told Politico he's looking at a "number of things", adding that he'd "be thrilled to have a television relationship". As Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen said, Chaffetz leaving "doesn't change the bigger picture-another congressional representative from somewhere else in America will assume the committee chair and have the same ability to interfere with locally passed laws by locally elected representatives".

Later, asked in an interview with Salt Lake City station KSL whether he would consider a run for governor in 2020, Chaffetz replied, "Maybe". He played on the football team at Brigham Young University, a school where he converted to both the Mormon faith and the GOP. "After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018".

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