Utah's Chaffetz won't run again for US House, other office in 2018


Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-CA) before testimony on the "Oversight of the State Department" in Washington, U.S. July 7, 2016. Chaffetz said that he did not have any ulterior motives, and that he was in good health and confident that he would have been reelected if he chose to run.

In her retweet, Watson wrote, "Chaffetz not seeking re-election will raise more questions about this". Chaffetz says he made the "personal decision" to return to the private sector after five terms, and is shooting down speculation that he had anything less than the full support of House Speaker Paul Ryan and his party.

According to a statement Chaffetz, a Republican representing Utah's 3rd Congressional District, released on Facebook, he said, "it is time", citing his stance of serving only as long as one needs to.

In a statement, the Republican from Utah thanked his constituents for allowing him to serve as their representative. Although he left open the possibility that he would seek public office in the future, he emphasized that he would not do so in 2018. Donald Trump won the district by 24 points but only got 47% of the vote, in part because Evan McMullin ran an independent campaign focused nearly entirely on Utah.

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Chaffetz could certainly run for the governor's mansion from Congress, but maybe he just decided that his name recognition was high enough to do it from the private sector (where in-the-know members of Congress can make millions) than a so-so job.

Chaffetz, first elected to represent Utah's 3 congressional district in 2003, nearly certainly would have had no problem winning reelection among an electorate that hasn't failed to send a Republican to Washington in 20 years.

Democratic candidate Kathryn Allen, a doctor who lives in Cottonwood Heights, has brought in more money so far than all of Chaffetz's previous general election opponents combined. Chaffetz has faced several angry demonstrations in his district since Trump's election, but dismissed them in February as "very, very small minority" that is "not representative of the average person, certainly not in Utah". In part, that's because the Oversight Committee has done some outstanding work under his leadership, work that could still potentially bring down some of the biggest political con artists of the last half century. Fueled by Chaffetz's comments about iPhones and poor people and crowdpac.com, she has raised more than $560,000. Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups House votes to begin debate on healthcare bill; six Republicans defect MORE (Ariz.) and Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.).

If Chaffetz is over it all, it's tough to blame him.