US House Oversight Committee Chair Won't Seek Office Next Year

Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he will not seek re-election in 2018

Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he will not seek re-election in 2018

Make no mistake, Chaffetz must resign from his Chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Chaffetz has gained significant attention in his role overseeing the Oversight Committee. Orrin Hatch decides to retire?

Chaffetz said he has "no ulterior motives" is healthy and confident he would re-elected. Chaffetz entered office in 2009 and his indefinite departure from politics would leave Utah's 3rd District up for grabs.

Chris Karpowitz, co-director at Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said Chaffetz may be seeking to avoid a potentially embarrassing primary loss or close race in 2018 that could hurt his prospects for the 2020 governor's race.

"This is a decision to avoid what could have been an embarrassing defeat that would have hurt his prospects in the future", Karpowitz said.

Democrats in Congress have been especially critical of Chaffetz for not vigilantly investigating President Trump and the billionaire's potential conflicts of interest.

Instead, Chaffetz has been hesitant to lead a thorough investigation of Trump, and the investigation has since mainly fallen to senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). But Chaffetz has been reluctant do so, despite getting an earful from his constituents during a February town hall meeting.

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. The comparison prompted scorn and criticism for Chaffetz and Republicans as they promoted a bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. In the wake of the faux pas, Democrat Kathryn Allen, a first time candidate who planned to run against Chaffetz in 2018, raised some $400,000 more than the GOP representative through viral fundraising.

Meanwhile Chaffetz's campaign committee recently purchased Jason2028.com and JasonChaffetz2028.com.

"I may run again for public office, but not in 2018", Chaffetz said in his Facebook posting.

Hughes and Wright didn't return messages.

Chaffetz attained national political stardom at the helm of several investigations into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, and has stood out among Republicans in Congress for his staunch, often casual defense of Donald Trump, amid concerns that Trump's ongoing ties to his businesses pose an ethical conundrum-often from his own party. After serving five terms he doesn't want to sacrifice more of his time with them.

But with Mr. Trump's surprise victory in November, Mr. Chaffetz found himself in an uncomfortable position: a watchdog who often sounded disinclined to watch over a fellow Republican. Rumors he may run for the governor of his native state in 2020 are still circulating. Sam Johnson of Texas and Lynn Jenkins of Kansas are retiring.

Latest News