Chaffetz Denies Reports He'll Immediately Step Down
Apr 21 2017 by Michele Stevens
"After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018", Representative Chaffetz wrote on his Facebook page when confirming his decision not to seek re-election.
"When I contemplate another 200 nights away from home, it is just too much", Chaffetz told FOX 13 news anchor Bob Evans. "I haven't had much time to absorb it". 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.
But the pending retirement of the Republican chairman of one of the most influential congressional committees has prompted Democrats to declare victory.
Why should Jason Chaffetz waste two years in the House minority when he can be spending that time getting paid in the private sector and laying the groundwork for a run for governor?
Or maybe it's something that has nothing to do with any of that!
Republicans have a deep bench of talented candidates in Utah who are more than up to this challenge.
He faced a hostile town hall in February, with constituents demanding to know why he wasn't examining Trump's conflicts of interests.
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House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted that Chaffetz is "a great defender of liberty and limited government" and wished him the best.
When he was asked about the 2020 governor's race in an interview with The Atlantic last month, Chaffetz joked he would "definitely maybe" run. Chaffetz won his first election in 2008 - a banner year for Democrats - with 66% of the vote, and hasn't been below 70% since.
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. Chaffetz says he won't for re-election or any other offi. "I admire your decision to serve and step aside".
His likely Democratic challenger next fall is political newcomer and family physician Dr. Kathryn Allen, who had an uphill battle in the red district, has already raised over $560,000 for her campaign, an nearly unprecedented sum for a non-incumbent congressional campaign 18 months away from election day.
Chaffetz worked in private industry as a corporate communications specialist before opening his own communications firm before he entered the world of politics.
Chaffetz's staff in Washington, D.C., and in Utah did not immediately respond to requests for comment. "Clearly, Chaffetz crumbled under the weight of the widespread backlash that he's been facing for refusing to do his job, which is a victory for all Americans and will serve as a motivating force for the grassroots".