Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
USA | By Angel Wallace

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz won't run for re-election

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz won't run for re-election

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz will not run for re-election in 2018, he announced in a Facebook post Wednesday.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who has been a top ally of the Trump Administration in Congress, says he will not run for re-election in 2018.

He first entered the political arena in 2003, serving as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr.'s campaign manager and chief of staff for two years, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008, where he's remained ever since. He said he made the decision after consulting his "family and prayerful consideration".

Republican Damian Kidd has already declared that he will run for Jason Chaffetz's seat in the House of Representatives, having announced this run before Chaffetz said he will not seek re-election.

Chaffetz, 50, is chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector", he wrote.

He's expected to face a stiff challenge from potential GOP candidates that include the state's popular lieutenant governor, Spencer Cox, and Josh Romney, a Salt Lake City-based real estate developer and son of Mitt Romney. Even after Mr. Trump had triumphed over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, Chaffetz had promised to continue investigating Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. During the election, he vacillated several times before backing President Trump. A long-shot Democratic challenger, Kathryn Allen - a physician and political newcomer - has reportedly been out-fundraising Chaffetz, according to the Associated Press.

He said he had no ulterior motives, and was not leaving office because of health concerns. "I'm proud to call him a friend", said Steve Stivers, National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, in a press release.

House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted that Chaffetz is "a great defender of liberty and limited government" and wished him the best. "I really meant it when I said I was going to get in, serve and get out".

"I'm trying to leave the door open for possibilities down the road", he said. 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.

Chaffetz might be taking a break from politics through 2018, but he didn't rule out returning to the scene in the future.

Chaffetz has also been put in a hard position as Trump demands Congressional investigations for each conspiracy theory de jour he decides is real based on a Fox News report.

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