Chaffetz leaves door open to not finish term in House

FILE Rep. Jason Chaffetz R Utah speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington

FILE Rep. Jason Chaffetz R Utah speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington

Twitter reacted quickly to Chaffetz's decision. Before the election, Chaffetz and other Republicans on the committee were quietly preparing to investigate Clinton's emails for potentially years but have since let the investigation go by the wayside.

While Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he is leaving Congress for the private sector, he did not rule out a future bid for office. "In the meantime, I still have a job to do and I have no plans to take my foot off the gas".

"I'm planning on [running] right now", Hatch told CNN. 'I will continue to weigh the options, but I might depart early'.

The Utah State Legislature did not pass a bill that would have addressed the intricacies of a special election. "This is more informal, just wanting to know ourselves and be prepared".

Rep. Jason Chaffetz at a hearing on Capitol Hill on September 21.

"I may run again for public office, but not in 2018", Chaffetz wrote on Facebook.

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The media-friendly Republican, who assumed leadership of the powerful Oversight Committee in 2015, led investigations into Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. There's nearly no evidence that Democrats can get competitive in this deep-red district.

Chaffetz said he continues to have the confidence of House leadership to remain chair of the committee through next year.

Chris Karpowitz, co-director at Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said Chaffetz's decision to bow out after 2018 is somewhat surprising but eases the path for a governor's race.

Of course, voters won't have the opportunity to see how the political battle would play out because Chaffetz is stepping aside in 2018.

However, things were made complicated when Orrin Hatch recently reversed his pledge to retire after his current term, telling CNN that he plans to run in 2018.

It's not terribly complicated then to conclude that Chaffetz decided that the best way for him to get elected governor in three years time is to get the heck out of Washington as soon as possible.

Despite this, following Chaffetz's announcement, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Steve Stivers, released a statement saying he believed Republicans could hold onto Chaffetz's seat.

Instead, he may be choosing to raise his profile back home in the Beehive State.

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