Chaffetz: 'No Ulterior Motives' in Backing Out of 2018 Race
Utah Republican, Oversight chair says he's going back to private sector—for now
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2017 12:07 PM CDT
In this Feb. 9, 2017, file photo, Rep. Jason Chaffetz speaks during a confrontational town hall in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(Newser) – GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, head of the House Oversight Committee, will not run for reelection in Utah in 2018, Politico reports. Chaffetz made the announcement on Facebook Wednesday morning, noting that after "long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration," he'd decided to follow his own advice of "get in, serve, and get out." He stressed in his post that he had "no ulterior motives," that he thinks he would've been reelected by "large margins," and that he didn't rule out running for public office in the future—just not next year. The 50-year-old added he's not sick and that he still had the "full support" of Speaker Paul Ryan in heading up the Oversight Committee. The Hill notes that Chaffetz was instrumental in Republican efforts to go after Hillary Clinton for the 2012 Benghazi attack and her use of a private email server.

Right before the election, Chaffetz even warned if Clinton won, the GOP had "two years' worth of material already lined up" to investigate her. Chaffetz, who could've kept on as the committee chair until 2020 if he'd been reelected in 2018, has faced criticism of late for seeming "disinclined" to investigate fellow GOPers (especially ex-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn) and telling uninsured citizens they should stop using their money to buy iPhones so they can buy health care instead, the New York Times notes. He also told infuriated attendees at a February town hall in Utah that the way they treated him was "bullying and an attempt at intimidation," per the Deseret News. Although Chaffetz's Utah seat is widely thought to be safe in Republican territory, the Salt Lake Tribune notes Democrat challenger Kathryn Allen raised nearly $400,000 more than him in the first quarter of 2017.

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