Posted: 11:23 am Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
In a surprise announcement, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said he would not run for re-election to the Congress, or any other office in 2018, as the high profile chairman of the House Oversight Committee will leave the U.S. House after his current terms runs out on Capitol Hill.
“For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives. I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins,” Chaffetz wrote in a post on his Facebook page.
Chaffetz had been feeling political headwinds in recent weeks, as Democrats mobilized to raise money for a candidate to run against him, as Chaffetz also faced the threat of a possible GOP challenger.
Key phrase from Chaffetz Facebook statement: "I may run again for public office, but not in 2018."
— paul schwartzman (@paulschwartzman) April 19, 2017
The immediate political speculation was that Chaffetz was warming up for a possible run for Governor in 2020.
Democrats saw the Chaffetz decision more in the prism of a political pendulum that is swinging back against President Trump, and the GOP.
If Trump's approval stays in the 30s, a lot more R's are going to discover the sudden allure of spending more time with their families.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) April 19, 2017
The decision of Chaffetz to retire at the end of his term means that nine members of the House won’t be back for the next Congress.
Chaffetz gained notoriety before the 2016 elections by leading inquiries into the email actions of Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State.
Democrats complained the Utah Republican had used his committee post to do little in terms of oversight of the Trump Administration.
A few plugged in members I've spoken with are surprised by Chaffetz' retirement announcement
— Daniel Newhauser (@dnewhauser) April 19, 2017
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.