Today, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, House Oversight Committee chair (and noted serial Hillary Clinton/Benghazi investigation-launcher), announced he won't run for re-election in 2018, leaving his House seat up for grabs.
The chairman of the House Oversight Committee announced Wednesday he wouldn't seek re-election and in the process re-ignited rumors of a run for Utah's governorship in 2020. "In the meantime, I still have a job to do and have no plans to take my foot off the gas".
The Utah Republican, who has been floated as a potential candidate for Senate or governor, did not close the door to another run for public office in his Wednesday statement.
Chaffetz's staff in Washington, D.C., and in Utah did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Chaffetz took on the chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee in 2015, following Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
He has faced pressure from protesters in his home district and federal watchdogs for not pursuing investigations into the Trump administration more forcefully. Before last year's election, Chaffetz had vowed he would investigate Clinton "for years" if she won the presidency over Trump. Some of that criticism bubbled over in recent months, with angry constituents lambasting Chaffetz at a packed town hall over the February recess. For now at least, Jason Chaffetz is preparing to enter the private sector when his current term expires, Fox News reports.
Republicans have a deep bench of talented candidates in Utah who are more than up to this challenge.
Chris Karpowitz, a BYU political science professor and co-director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said Chaffetz' announcement is big and surprising news. Trump dashed Chaffetz's plans to become a household name. Schreiber believes this indicates a tighter 2018 election season in red states. Chaffetz wrote that he has "the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman", but in less than two years, he'll be replaced.
Running for Utah governor in 2020 is a possibility, Chaffetz said, but he's not willing to commit one way or another.
In reality, a Democrat in his district, Kathryn Allen, had already raised $400,000 to go up against Chaffetz next November, according The New York Times, while a primary challenger, Damian W. Kidd, also planned to go up against the congressman.