After two sources told BuzzFeed that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) would not be seeking reelection, the congressman confirmed on Facebook that this would be his last term.
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As some have speculated, Chaffetz, one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in the House, may be considering a run for governor. In his statement, Chaffetz left that door open. “I may run again for public office, but not in 2018,” he said. The Utah governor race wouldn’t be until 2020.
It’s unclear when Chaffetz ultimately made the decision not to run, but in the first quarter of this year, his would-be Democratic challenger out-raised him by a three to one margin. Chaffetz’s statement insisted he was confident he would be re-elected by large margins were he to run again, and that a Republican would succeed him.
As chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chaffetz gained notoriety for his dogged pursuit of Hillary Clinton over both Benghazi and her private email server, though neither investigation turned up anything substantive. His comparative reluctance to investigate the many apparent scandals of the Trump administration has led to accusations of massive hypocrisy.
Here are a few more recent highlights from Chaffetz’s tenure:
- When Chaffetz first met with President Trump, he didn’t talk about oversight at all. Instead, he encouraged the White House to undo protections for a national monument in Utah.
- In February, angry constituents have overpowered his town hall meetings. He complained that the protesters were paid, though there was no evidence of a single paid protester.
- When a ten-year-old asked Chaffetz if he believed in science, he couldn’t answer.
- Defending the Republican health care plan, Chaffetz said that some Americans will have to choose between buying an iPhone or seeing a doctor.