Rep. Chaffetz will not seek re-election in 2018

In this 2008 file photo, Rep. Jason Chaffetz addresses the Center for the Study of Ethics during a debate at Utah Valley University, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 1, 2008 | Photo courtesy of Don LaVange, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee, announced Wednesday morning he won’t be running for re-election or for any other office in 2018.

The announcement was made on Chaffetz’s personal Facebook page, where he thanked Utahns for the chance to serve and called it “an honor and a privilege that I have never taken for granted.”

He added that he came to this decision after “long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration.”

His Facebook post reads:

Since late 2003 I have been fully engaged with politics as a campaign manager, a chief of staff, a candidate and as a Member of Congress. I have long advocated public service should be for a limited time and not a lifetime or full career. Many of you have heard me advocate, ‘Get in, serve, and get out.’ After more than 1,500 nights away from my home, it is time. I may run again for public office, but not in 2018.

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.

I am grateful for all of you in the current and previous 3rd Congressional District. I acknowledge the outstanding work of my dedicated staff. Together we have been a strong advocate for Utahns.

By announcing now, I hope to give prospective candidates time to lay the groundwork for a successful run. I have no doubt the 3rd Congressional District will be represented by a Republican. I trust you to find the best person to serve.

Chaffetz has seen a rough start to 2017, including a town hall meeting at the beginning of February in Cottonwood Heights where a crowd of angry constituents openly booed Chaffetz and led chants of “Do your job!”

In March, Chaffetz again caught flack when he made a comment in regard to President Trump’s proposed American Health Care Act, saying provisions in the bill could lead Americans to put aside money for their health care instead of “getting that new iPhone.”

A few days after the incident, former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin said in an online “ask me anything” Reddit chat session that he would possibly challenge Chaffetz in 2018.

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.

Approximately half of the voters in Chaffetz’s 3rd congressional district, which spans from Salt Lake to southeastern Utah, are registered Republicans. Chaffetz won 73 percent of the vote last fall. Stivers said:

Jason Chaffetz has been a valuable member of the Republican team, and we wish him the best as he begins this new chapter in his life. I’m proud to call him a friend.

Republicans have a deep bench of talented candidates in Utah who are more than up to this challenge. The NRCC is very confident in our ability to keep this seat red in November 2018.

Rep. Chris Stewart also released a statement wishing the best to Chaffetz.

“I’m saddened to learn that Jason Chaffetz won’t be seeking re-election in 2018. He is a good friend, terrific public servant and a colleague that will be greatly missed in the House of Representatives and in the Utah Delegation. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Email: pdail@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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6 Comments

  • Proud Rebel April 19, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Gosh, seems like we had another politician that stated he was not going to run again, but is now thinking about changing his mind. Now, who was that? Egg or Nest or something like – oh I remember now, HATCH! Silly me…

  • Henry April 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Follow Chaffetz’ lead, Orrin Hatch.

  • jaybird April 19, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Great news! He hasn’t done anything good since he got in there.

  • Chris April 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    So, who will now take Chaffetz’ title as the dumbest man in Congress?

  • voice of reason April 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Does this mean Evan McMuffin will run?
    Dear Baby Mormon Jesus, little 8 pound 6 ounce Savior with golden locks of hair, please, just no.

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