Controversial Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz has announced on Wednesday that he will not be seeking re-election, or election in any other office in 2018.
The story was first reported by Buzzfeed based on several unnamed sources, but Chaffetz made his announcement regarding the next election on Facebook in a lengthy post. In the post, Chaffetz explained that he intends to work in the private sector after his term ends and that he will not be seeking elected office in 2018.
“After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018.”
Chaffetz did not, however, say that he would not be seeking public office ever again. As some have noted, the Utah Governorship is opening up in 2020, and could be the prize Chaffetz currently has his eye on.
Either way, Chaffetz’s decision to stay out of the upcoming election is a wise one for the Republican congressman as he has suffered significant criticism in recent months surrounding his handling of Clinton investigations and then subsequent refusal to investigate the multitude of suspicious activities and ethical violations coming from the Trump administration.
At a recent town hall in his home district, Chaffetz was roundly criticized by a furious audience, an indication of just how favorably his district views their representative.
Still, in his statement, Chaffetz maintained that it was not this possibility of losing that has made him give up his seat – but then again, would he say anything different?
“For those that would speculate otherwise, let me be clear that I have no ulterior motives. I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins. I have the full support of Speaker Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector.”
Whatever he decides, it is almost certain that we won’t have seen the last of Chaffetz when he leaves office in 2019.
Now that the seat is wide open, it will be interesting to see whether grassroots Democrats in the state will work to assemble a strong campaign to take over the deep red district as they have attempted to do in Kansas and Georgia. If they do, they will be working with a voting population that widely disliked Candidate Donald Trump and continues to dislike President Trump, more by the day.
Might we be rid of Chaffetz while also welcoming a new blue replacement? Time will tell.